Unbeaten England reaches first final in 16 years

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Sydney, Mar.17 (ANI): England sealed a place in its first World Cup final in 16 years when it extended its unbeaten run at this tournament to five matches by defeating the West Indies by 146 runs, while New Zealand stayed on course for a final showdown with Charlotte Edwards's side when it overpowered India by five wickets in the penultimate matches in the Super Six stage of the ICC Women's World Cup 2009 on Tuesday.

At the Drummoyne Oval, England openers Sarah Taylor (78) and Caroline Atkins (50) featured in a 134-run first wicket partnership before Claire Taylor (65) rescued her side from a middle-order collapse as the two-time former champion reached an imposing 236-8 in 50 overs.

Off-spinner Laura Marsh then took 3-17 as the West Indies was bowled out for 90 in 38.2 overs, with Shanel Daly unable to bat due to illness.

At the North Sydney Oval, New Zealand rode on an excellent 71 by player-of-the-match Kate Pulford and a priceless 47 not out by Suzie Bates to achieve the victory target of 208 runs with five wickets and 15 balls to spare which made it the first side in the tournament to score over 200 runs in the second innings to win a match.

While England is guaranteed a place in the 22 March final after collecting maximum points, New Zealand now has six points and can set up a repeat of 1993 World Cup final at Lord's against England if it beats Pakistan on Thursday at Drummoyne. And if it manages to do this, defending champion Australia will be knocked out of the final race and instead will be left to play in the third-fourth place-off against India on 21 March at the Bankstown Oval.

Australia's only chance of reaching the final is if it beats England on Thursday and also hope that eighth-ranked Pakistan turns the table on New Zealand. This scenario will put both Australia and New Zealand on even points and on equal wins which will bring the net run-rate into play.

India can also come into the equation if it beats the West Indies by a convincing margin and both Australia and New Zealand lose their last matches with the net run-rate to decide which team joins England in the final. The calculations are hypothetical and highly unlikely but certainly not impossible. (ANI)

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