The New Zealand women's cricket team will not contest the final of the quadrangular Twenty20 series in England after slumping to a six-wicket loss to Australia at Taunton Vale today.
The White Ferns made a respectable 146 for six with Liz Perry making an unbeaten 50, but Australia got home with 2.1 overs to spare with opening Leah Poulton leading their reply with a hard-hit 61.
Australia now play England in the final of the series tomorrow morning (NZT).
Captain Aimee Watkins and Suzie Bates shared a 52-run opening stand, before Perry's 37-ball innings added substance to their total.
Perry, who made an unbeaten 48 in Sunday's 25-run win over India, got support from Nicola Browne (28) to add 62 for the fifth wicket.
Poulton's 43-ball innings and Jess Cameron's 47 saw Australia add 82 for the second wicket but Suzie Bates removed Cameron and Alex Blackwell in successive balls with the score on 94 to give the White Ferns a chance only for the experienced Shelley Nitschke to hit an unbeaten 23 to guide Australia to victory.
Watkins thought they could defend their total after winning the toss and electing to bat.
"We thought that we had enough. But obviously it wasn't. I think it was a par score on that pitch. But Australia took the opportunities that came their way and put away the bad balls. They chased down the target well," she said.
New Zealand face India, who lost to England by 46 runs today, in the playoff for third place at the Rose Bowl starting at 9.45pm tonight (NZT).