It's a kick up the backside - Edwards

Alex Blackwell & Sarah Taylor

Alex Blackwell hurries Australia to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over the World Cup finalists

Charlotte Edwards branded England's eight-wicket defeat to Australia the worst performance she has seen in 12 months.

The skipper failed with the bat as England were bowled out for 161 - a total the hosts had little trouble knocking off within 35 overs at the North Sydney Oval.

The defeat ended England's 17-game winning streak but Edwards preferred to look at the bigger picture knowing her side's place in Sunday's final was already assured before they faced Australia.

"This is the worst game of cricket we have played in a year," said Edwards. "It had to come at some point and I'm glad it's not Sunday.

"I'm hoping this blip is just the thing we needed to give the girls a bit of a kick up the backside.

"Any England-Australia game is a big game, so no excuses from us. We were beaten by a great Australian team today who played really good cricket. We just weren't up to it."

Edwards refuted suggestions that her players already had an eye on the final.

"There were a determined bunch of girls in there this morning wanting to beat Australia," she added.

"Any international game we play we should be up for. We have some tough girls in our dressing room and they are quite hurt today. It might be a blessing in disguise come Sunday.

"If you are 106 for three and then 115 for seven then you are not going to win many games of cricket. It's something to work on but the positive is we are in the final."

Rene Farrell

Rene Farrell dives to catch Charlotte Edwards during an "outstanding" Australia performance

While England were toiling away against Australia, New Zealand confirmed their place in the final by crushing Pakistan by 223 runs as Haidee Tiffin and Suzie Bates scored centuries.

Edwards, however, is still confident England can win the World Cup for the first time since 1993.

"We are playing New Zealand, who we have already beaten." she said. "We've got the biggest game of our lives - if we can't be up for Sunday then we can't be up for any game. I'm sure we will put everything right.

"We are in the World Cup final. That's been our goal since we've been here. It's disappointing to lose to Australia but I'm in a final and that's the main thing."

Australia captain Karen Rolton hailed a "fantastic" performance from her side, but she was left to rue what might have been after having to settle for a third/fourth-place play-off against India.

“We probably just haven’t clicked as early as we would have liked, which is disappointing," Rolton said.

“The fact is that we knew before this game that we weren’t going to be in the final so we wanted to put in a good effort and I was really pleased with the girls.

"It was a fantastic team effort today. The bowling was sensational, the fielding backed it up with some great catches and the batting really topped it off.

“It’s taken us six games and two games in the warm-up up as well to put together a great team effort. I was really pleased with this effort so hopefully we can continue it on Saturday against India."