The WHITE FERNS hopes of making the semifinals at the ICC Women's World T20 suffered a big blow when they were beaten by 33 runs by Australia in Providence, Guyana.
Having already lost to India in their Group B opener, New Zealand had to beat the three-time champions to keep their fate in their own hands.
Instead, after Australia reached 153 for seven, the WHITE FERNS couldn't overcome a poor start and were dismissed for 120 with 15 balls un-bowled.
It was Australia's second win, against three losses, to New Zealand in their World T20 clashes, but the fourth successive victory, taking in the leadup series in Australia early last month.
The result means Australia are through to the semifinals, and the WHITE FERNS will be hoping Ireland can somehow get up to beat the strong Indian side in their clash on Friday, immediately before New Zealand face Pakistan in their penultimate match.
New Zealand's final game, against the Irish on Sunday, will also be redundant unless the Irish topple India.
New Zealand's bowlers deserved credit for pulling the game back after Australia made a flying start having won the toss.
However the WHITE FERNS were in deep trouble at 13 for three inside the first three overs of their chase.
Opener Anna Peterson went lbw in the first over – using up New Zealand's only DRS referral, then Sophie Devine was bowled by a fine ball from allrounder Ellyse Perry.
When captain Amy Satterthwaite attempted a reverse sweep and went lbw, it left the job up to the world's No 1 ranked T20 batswoman Suzie Bates.
She received valuable support from her Otago team mate Katey Martin. The pair put on 66 in 11.4 overs, deciding to take the Australian attack on. For a time it worked, as 57 came in a rousing six-over burst.
However Martin, continuing a strong run of form this year was stumped by Alyssa Healy for 24 off 20 balls. Maddie Green started in the same vein but the departure of her and Bernadine Bezuidenhout in the 14th over was the beginning of the end for New Zealand.
They needed 56 off the last six overs and when Bates went lbw to left arm spinner Ashleigh Gardner for 48 off 42 balls that was a effectively signalled New Zealand's challenge was over, other than some lusty blows from Leigh Kasperek.
Australia's innings got off to a strong start, with the sixth 50-run opening stand in their last seven innings by Healy and Beth Mooney.Healy was in fine form and showed a classy array of strokes.
She should have been out on 11, however, in the third over, from Sophie Devine. Healy skied the ball to cover where Amelia Kerr spilled a regulation catch.
The situation was bleak for New Zealand as Australia's openers sailed along to 71 in the ninth over, before the New Zealand bowlers redressed the balance.
Lefthander Mooney's dismissal, caught at long off by Bates off the most successful bowler, spinner Kasperek, started a change in fortunes for New Zealand.
Australia lost five wickets for 50 in the space of 46 balls, including Healy, bowled behind her legs by tall seamer Hannah Rowe for 53 off 38 balls, and captain Meg Lanning.
The skipper edged Devine to wicketkeeper Martin on five. New Zealand deserved credit for starving Healy of the strike when she was in full stride. At one point the Australian wicketkeeper faced just eight balls in a four-over period.
New Zealand dropped three catches -- besides Kerr's bad miss, Kasperek dropped a sharp return catch off Rachel Haynes on 21 in the penultimate over; then Bates spilled Haynes low running in from keep mid-wicket in the final over.
Kasperek finished with three for 25 from her four overs, Devine had two for 37 while none of the Australian batsmen could pick Kerr's googly as she conceded just 25 in four overs, and fast bowler Lea Tahuhu did a solid job early on.