England's women team continued its winning streak with a decisive seven wicket victory over two-time runner up New Zealand to reach its second ICC World Twenty20 final in three years at Colombo Thursday.
England captain Charlotte Edwards won the toss and sent New Zealand in to bat restricting the White Ferns to 93 for eight.
On a slow wicket England's spin bowlers dominated from the beginning and New Zealand was dealt an early blow when captain Suzie Bates was run out without scoring in the first over.
Fellow opener and left-hander Amy Satterthwaite briefly held the innings together with a patient 30 off 39 balls, including three fours, but was not able to develop any match-changing partnerships.
The first four of the innings, off an edge, didn't come until the fifth over as Katherine Brunt tied New Zealand down at one end with pace, while Danielle Hazell and Danielle Wyatt gave nothing away with their off-spin.
Frances McKay and Sara McGlashan fell quickly, before Sophie Devine was the first of two victims for Danielle Wyatt (11).
Nicola Browne and wicketkeeper Katey Martin added valuable runs, but the loss of three wickets in the final two overs left New Zealand defending a meagre total of 93. Both Danielle Wyatt and Holly Colvin finished with figures of 2-15.
"It was unfortunate the way I went out at the start and there was dot-ball pressure," said Bates.
"We just took too long to get going. I thought we batted really well in the middle but it was such a slow start that it was always hard to catch up."
In reply, Charlotte Edwards led the way with a 37-ball 33 which included five fours.
Sarah Taylor and Lydia Greenway applied the finishing touches with a 40-run partnership - the highest of the match. Greenway took England to within one run of victory before falling to the reverse-sweep, but with wickets in hand, England reached its target with 16 balls to spare.
Sian Ruck was the most successful bowler for the New Zealand side, taking 22 for 2 in her four overs.
England captain Charlotte Edwards said: "We're delighted to be through to the final, it was all about getting over the line today.
"It was another good team performance for us and our best with the ball so far. Lydia sets the standard for us in the field and it was a good all-round effort. It turned a lot more here and it was tough, but we pride ourselves on playing spin and we did well to work the ball into the gaps."
Edwards was pleased with her team's performance on the slow wicket: "It's a wicket we feel comfortable on. We're good players of spin, we pride ourselves on that. Having four spinners in the side, including some that are all-rounders, is a real benefit for us. We won't be disappointed if we see something like that for the final."
New Zealand skipper Bates also felt that her side did well on the slow wicket: "I think if we'd got anything near 110 then we would have been in there right to the end. If we had got 120 I think it would have been a winning score. It was just really tough to hit boundaries outside of the first six. I think we were 20-30 runs short."
Edwards agreed, saying: "Manoeuvering the ball around, into the gaps, was probably the difference between the two teams."
Reflecting on the loss, Bates was philosophical: "We've had a pretty good run leading up to this tournament. I think we have a really strong Twenty20 side. We probably need to play in these conditions more often - it's a lot different to home - and we know we have an ICC Women's World Cup in India early next year and we have to learn how to sweep."
"It's not always suited to our game to hit down the ground. We need to play more in these conditions and practice hitting square."
England now awaits the winner of the Australia-West Indies semi-final, to be played Friday at R.Premadasa Stadium.
"West Indies have got the X-factor about them," said Edwards.
"With [Deandra] Dottin and [Stafanie] Taylor, they'll probably clear these boundaries. And they've got four or five good spinners. The Aussies would probably have preferred to play on a quicker pitch. It's going to be a pretty good game and we'll be watching it."
There was no preference, however, when she was asked which side she'd rather face. "We're not bothered at all," she said. "We can't control the other games. We know we've got to beat the best to win this trophy.
"What we've come here to do is be in another ICC World Twenty20 final. There are a few girls here who have not experienced that. There's extra anticipation because of that. Hopefully, we can replicate what we did in 2009."
Score in Brief:
At R.Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, England defeated New Zealand by 7 wickets with 16 balls remaining
New Zealand 93 for 8, 20 overs (Amy Satterthwaite 30, Katey Martin 19, Nicola Browne 18; Danielle Wyatt 15-2, Holly Colvin 15-2)
England 94 for 3, 17.2 overs (Charlotte Edwards 33, Lydia Greenway 22, Sarah Taylor 21; Sian Ruck 22-2)
Player of the Match - Charlotte Edwards (England)
In Colombo, defending champion Australia takes on the West Indies in the second women's semi-final on Friday, at R.Premadasa Stadium.
The match will begin at 1430.