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Pulford powers New Zealand

Kate Pulford

Player of the match Kate Pulford pulls forcefully on her way to 71 as New Zealand chase down 208

Kate Pulford starred with ball and then bat as New Zealand women took a step closer to the World Cup final with a five-wicket win over India.

Pulford claimed 2-38 to help bowl India out for 207 at the North Sydney Oval, before hitting 71 off 88 deliveries in their successful chase, which was achieved with 14 balls to spare.

Pulford and Sophie Devine, who finished with figures of 2-35, profited as India slipped to 83 for four, and then 126 for six despite winning the toss.

Reema Malhotra and Anjum Chopra rescued the India innings with 59 and 52 respectively, but three run-outs saw them dismissed with two balls of the innings unused.

Pulford led the way the bat as New Zealand’s reply began positively. She enjoyed an opening stand of 78 with captain Haidee Tiffen, who made 28 and had scored almost two thirds of her side’s runs when she departed in the 26th over.

A steady fall of wickets provided India with hope, but an excellent unbeaten from Suzie Bates and Aimee Mason’s rapid 23 off 16 balls eased any nerves in the White Ferns dressing room.

New Zealand, who sit second in the Super Six table, will seal their place in the final against England if they beat Pakistan on Thursday.

Aimee Mason & Haidee Tiffen

Haidee Tiffen salutes Aimee Mason on trapping opener Anjum Chopra lbw for 52

Tiffen was delighted her side became the first team in the 2009 tournament to chase down a target over 200, going some way to exacting revenge for their 2005 semi-final defeat to India.

“I am really pleased with the way the girls lifted themselves after the defeat against England. I saw India’s last game against Australia and had a fair idea how to take them on.

“I suppose we took the match as a semi-final and came hard at India. I am happy to know that we achieved something which no other team has achieved in the tournament to date. I am also happy that we were able to avenge for previous World Cup’s defeat.”

India captain Jhulan Goswami had to fight back the tears with her team all but certain to go into the third place play-off, barring an unlikely set of results on Thursday when they face West Indies.

“It is a very disappointing day. We worked extremely hard for the World Cup but all has gone down the drain because of one bad performance,” she said.

“It is a devastating blow to all of us as the next World Cup will be after four years and who know who will be there by then.

“It is very difficult to lift your spirits after you know you have been knocked out of the title match. But yes, we have to motivate ourselves and try to win matches against the West Indies and Australia so that we could finish, at least, third in the tournament.”