New Zealand women respond well when pressure goes on

New Zealand's world champion women's team continued on their winning way with only the final of the tri-series with England now standing in the way of an unbeaten tour for them.

In the last of their preliminary games, at the Racecourse ground in Durham, the TelstraClear White Ferns from New Zealand beat India by five wickets in another game that failed to go the distance.

New Zealand's chance wasn't without its moments however.

England is now assured of its place in the final although it still has one more game to play tomorrow against India.

The greatest concern to New Zealand coach Mike Shrimpton would have to be the vulnerability of his lower-order should they need to bat in the final. However, today's game provided the middle-order with a wake-up call when the side was 40/4, having lost the four wickets without a run being scored.

Because of the way in which the New Zealanders have dominated their games they have not needed to rely on the lower-order to score runs for victories. Before the tri-series began, efforts were made to ensure all players got some batting by re-arranging the batting order. That proved invaluable today.

New Zealand has also rarely had the chance of batting first so has not been able to get maximum value from the 50 overs available.

India chose to bat first after winning the toss today but found the New Zealand attack at their miserly best and fast bowler Rachel Pullar was especially outstanding. Sulakshana Naik was caught from her bowling for a duck when the score was three.

Her fellow opener Jaya Sharma combined with Anjum Chopra to get the score through to 38, but at that point medium-pacer Kate Pulford trapped Chopra leg before wicket for 11 and then one run later Sharma was caught by wicket-keeper Rebecca Rolls off Haidee Tiffen's bowling for 17. India were 39/3.

Mithali Raj and Mamtha Maben then dug in and carried the score through to 77 before Pullar returned to the action and trapped Maben leg before wicket for 16. Raj departed for 28 when the score was 85, having been caught by Anna Corbin from Aimee Mason's bowling.

That ended the Indian resistance as five wickets fell for 10 runs with five of the last six batsmen failing to score.

Pullar was again outstanding, taking three wickets for 10 runs from her eight overs. Mason, the off-spinner, also bowled tightly and conceded 19 runs from her 10 overs while picking up one wicket. Corbin took two for 27 from her 7.1 overs while Louise Milliken took two for 13.

Pulford also proved a handful for the Indians with one for five from her five overs.

New Zealand's reply wasn't all plain sailing however, as they lost four wickets for no runs at one stage.

Rolls (24) and Nicola Payne (14) had scored 40 for the first wicket but left-arm spinner Neetu David then took three wickets in four balls, having Payne and Pulford caught behind and Emily Drumm leg before wicket. Medium pacer Arundhati Kirkire then trapped Rolls leg before wicket.

But then Tiffen and Sara McGlashan righted the ship before it could founder. They added 55 runs before McGlashan was run out going for the winning run. She had scored 21 while when the win was taken, after 28.4 overs, Tiffen was 30 not out. David finished with three for 17 from her seven overs.