Half-centuries by Anjum Chopra and Reema Malhotra went in vain as New Zealand thumped India by five wickets in a Super Six stage match of the ICC Women's World Cup in Sydney on Tuesday.
After captain Jhulan Goswami won the toss and elected to bat first, India were all out for 207 in 49.4 overs, thanks largely to Chopra's 106-ball 52 and Malhotra's blazing knock of 59 from 52 deliveries.
Opener Kate Pulford led New Zealand's chase with an 89-ball 71 as the Kiwis romped to 210 for five with 14 balls to spare.
Coming in to bat first, India were dealt an early blow in the fourth over itself when Anagha Deshpande (8) edged a Kate Pulford delivery to wicketkeeper Rachel Priest.
Priyanka Roy departed soon after (3), trapped leg before by Aimee Mason, to leave India, who beat Australia in their opening Super Six encounter, reeling at 26 for two.
In-form Mithali Raj (21) walked in to resurrect the innings with Chopra but the duo's slow pace of scoring meant that the Indians managed just a little over 60 runs in the first 20 overs.
Raj's dismissal, caught by Priest off the bowling of medium pacer Sophie Divine, triggered another mini-collapse as Anjum, Rumeli Dhar (5) and skipper Jhulan Goswami (4) fell in quick succession, leaving India tottering at 126 for six in the 33rd over.
Malhotra, however, held the other end and guided India to 153 by the 43rd over before being run out by Divine.
Malhotra smashed eight fours in her 52-ball innings that gave the much needed acceleration to Indian scoring.
Vice-captain Amita Sharma (14) and Harmanpreet Kaur (13) then played out small cameos to take India to a respectable 207.
However, the Kiwi eves, who lost to India in the preliminary stage, made a solid start to their chase with openers Kate Pulford (71) and skipper Haidee Tiffin (23) putting on a 78-run stand.
Sravanthi Naidu trapped Tiffen in front of the wicket to give India the first breakthrough in the 18th over.
But the Kiwis rode on Pulford's 89-ball innings that was studded with 10 fours and some fine middle-order contributions by Suzie Bates (47 not out) and Aimee Mason (23) to continue their unbeaten run.
Roy was the most successful of the Indian bowlers picking up a couple of wickets but her spell was rather expensive as she conceded 60 runs in her quota of 10 overs.
India next play the West Indies on March 19.
New Zealand face Pakistan on Thursday knowing a win will guarantee them a place in the final against England.
England sealed a place in the final after a comprehensive 146-run win over the West Indies on Tuesday.
Anagha Deshpande c Priest b Pulford 8
Anjum Chopra lbw b Mason 52
Priyanka Roy lbw b Devine 3
Mithali Raj c Priest b Browne 21
Rumeli Dhar b Pulford 5
Jhulan Goswami run out (Tiffen) 4
Reema Malhotra not out 59
Amita Sharma run out (Devine) 14
Harmanpreet Kaur run out (Priest) 13
Sravanthi Krishnamurthy run out (Priest) 2
Gouher Sultana c Tiffen b Devine 1
Extras (b: 0, lb: 3, wd: 21, nb: 1, pen: 0) 25
Total: 207 all out in 49.4 overs
Fall of wickets: 14/1 (Anagha Deshpande, 3.4), 26/2 (Priyanka Roy, 8.4), 62/3 (Mithali Raj, 20.4), 83/4 (Rumeli Dhar, 25.3), 108/5 (Jhulan Goswami, 32.6), 126/6 (Anjum Chopra, 38.3), 153/7 (Amita Sharma, 43.1), 197/8 (Harmanpreet Kaur, 47.6), 204/9 (Sravanthi Krishnamurthy, 48.5), 207/10 (Gouher Sultana, 49.4.
Bowling: Sophie Devine 8.4-0-35-2, Kate Pulford 10-2-38-2, Nicola Browne 10-0-28-1, Suzie Bates 9-0-52-0, Aimee Mason 7-0-24-1, Sarah Tsukigawa 5-1-27-0.
Kate Pulford st Deshpande b Roy 71
Haidee Tiffen lbw b Krishnamurthy 23
Suzie Bates not out 47
Amy Satterthwaite c Sharma b Sultana 12
Sara McGlashan c & b Roy 11
Aimee Mason c Sharma b Dhar 23
Nicola Browne not out 15
Did not bat: Sophie Devine, Sarah Tsukigawa, Lucy Doolan, Rachel Priest.
Extras (b: 0, lb: 4, wd: 4, nb: 0, pen: 0) 8
Total: 210 for five wickets in 47.4 overs
Fall of wickets: 78/1 (Haidee Tiffen, 17.5), 109/2 (Kate Pulford, 26.3), 126/3 (Amy Satterthwaite, 30.4), 147/4 (Sara McGlashan, 37.2), 175/5 (Aimee Mason, 41.3)
Bowling: Jhulan Goswami 6-1-16-0, Rumeli Dhar 7-1-43-1, Gouher Sultana 10-0-32-1, Amita Sharma 5-0-22-0, Sravanthi Krishnamurthy 4-0-14-1, Priyanka Roy 10-0-59-2, Reema Malhotra 5.4-0-20-0.