It will be a winner-takes-all at The County Ground in Derby on Saturday as India and New Zealand square off for the last semi-final spot at the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017.
England, Australia and South Africa all booked a place in the last-four with victories on Wednesday, leaving a straight shootout for the fourth and final qualification spot.
The side to top the eight-team league will play the fourth-placed side in the first semifinal in Bristol on 18 July while the sides finishing second and third will feature in the second semi-final in Derby on 20 July.
Victory for either team will see it through, while a tie or a washout would be enough for India to pip the White Ferns, as India is currently one point better off.
Yet both teams will need to bounce back from defeats in the penultimate round of pool matches, where New Zealand lost by 75 runs to England and India was beaten by eight wickets by Australia.
India skipper Mithali Raj has demanded improvement from her troops and believes the ability to cope with the pressure of a must-win game will be the deciding factor.
“You can’t just give up because you lose one game,” said Raj. “India has always had the problem that when faced with the crunch matches, the team does not necessarily step up.
“If it is a very crucial game in the T20s, the World Cup, or even just that dictates a series win, we tend to fall down in that match.
“The girls are so talented, but it’s just a matter of how well they pull themselves up after a defeat. That’s what makes world champions.
“As a team, we have to step up. If we perform again like against Australia it will not be enough.
“We really have to improve all over the pitch, especially producing more consistency from how we are bowling and fielding.
“I think our bowlers need to more consistent in terms of their areas and bowling the good balls.”
Natalie Sciver’s brilliant 129 from just 111 balls helped England to a total of 284 for nine in Derby on Wednesday and once Suzie Bates and Amy Satterthwaite were dismissed, New Zealand drifted to a 75-run defeat.
It has only lost to the top two sides in the table, England and Australia, during this year’s ICC WWC, while it’s match against South Africa was washed out, and captain Bates is staying positive heading into the decider.
“We've played some really good cricket and only lost to England and Australia, so it’s not all doom and gloom,” she said.
“We've got what is basically a quarter-final against India and we know we can beat them. But we've got to play well because one of us is going home.
“It’s interesting because in this tournament we’ve seen every game as a must-win and we’ve played like that.
“We’ve had one washout and then losses against Australia and England but we’ve played some really good cricket.
“We’ve played the style we wanted to play and, look, at least our destiny is in our own hands. We know that if we beat India on Saturday, then we get to stay here.”
In India, the match can be watched live on Hotstar, while in New Zealand it will be live on Sky Sport7 and Hotstar. For further information, contact your local listings.
India: Mithali Raj (captain), Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Jhulan Goswami, Mansi Joshi, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Smrti Mandhana, Mona Meshram, Shikha Pandey, Poonam, Nuzhat Parween, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma and Sushma Verma.
New Zealand: Suzie Bates (captain), Erin Bermingham, Sophie Devine, Maddie Green, Holly Huddleston, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Thamsyn Newton, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Rachel Priest, Hannah Rowe, Amy Satterthwaite and Lea Tahuhu
Umpires: Shaun George and Claire Polosak.
Match referee: Richie Richardson