Cricket: England's World Cup hopes suffer setback
ENGLAND women's World Cup hopes were left hanging by a thread after they lost to old foes Australia yesterday.
Charlotte Edwards' side appeared to be on course for victory after dismissing Australia for 147 in their Super Six stage game at Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium.
But a poor performance with the bat, which saw them crumble to 39-6, proved their undoing as they were eventually bowled out for 145 to lose by two runs.
The defending champions must now beat South Africa in Cuttack tomorrow and New Zealand next Wednesday at yesterday's venue – and hope other results go their way – if they are to have a chance of reaching the final.
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The day had started productively for England, with Anya Shrubsole (3-24) tearing through the Australia top order.
A sixth-wicket partnership of 82 between Lisa Sthalekar (41) and Sarah Coyte (44) rescued the Aussies, but a couple of wickets apiece from Arran Brindle and Holly Colvin left England in the ascendancy.
However, their run chase started in disastrous fashion as a series of poor shots and bad umpiring decisions increased the pressure.
Danielle Wyatt, from the Westlands in Newcastle, was one of the early victims, making 16 before driving loosely at a wide delivery and edging behind.
Lydia Greenway (49) and Laura Marsh (22) joined forces to compile a 60-run stand for the seventh wicket, but after both fell, England's bid looked to be over at 114-9.
Shrubsole (13no) and Colvin (16) inched their side closer to victory until the latter was dismissed with just three runs required in a thrilling finish.
Edwards conceded England only had themselves to blame for the defeat, which has left them with no margin for error in their quest to retain the trophy they won in 2009.
"We're disappointed to get so close, but that's cricket and we've got to come back stronger," she said.
"It was an important toss and I think we exploited the conditions well, and Anya bowled brilliantly up front.
"The reason we've lost this game is because of poor shots and a couple of bad decisions which have really cost us.
"We've got strength in depth in our order and we still believed we could win towards the end, and Holly played fantastically well.
"We're disappointed now, but with this competition you've got to forget about it and move on to the next game. Hopefully we can win the last two."
Australia captain Jodie Fields added: "It was a bit lucky, but if you bowl the ball in the right areas and your fielders back you up, you can win a game from anywhere. You've got to hang in there till the last ball and we did that."
Elsewhere in the Super Sixes, New Zealand thrashed Sri Lanka by eight wickets to move to four points from three games.
The Sri Lankans were bowled out for 103, with Lea Tahuhu taking four wickets before the Kiwis chased down the runs in 23 overs.
The West Indies also have four points following a two-wicket victory over South Africa.
Chasing 231 to win, the Caribbean side survived a middle-order collapse to scramble home in the 46th over.