Christchurch: India for the second consecutive time came short at the crunch situation to lose by 73 runs to hosts New Zealand in a league match of the Women's World Cup 2000 match at the BIL Oval on Saturday.The result of this match could leave India finishing third on the league table behind defending champions Australia and New Zealand. If that happens then India would again meet New Zealand in the semi-finals with Australia most probably taking on South Africa in the other semi-final. This calculation can be upset if England beat both Australia and New Zealand or either of them.With New Zealand and India having lost to defending champions Australia, Saturday's match was crucial for both the sides in terms of assessing their strengths and weaknesses in their bid for the title. India once again missed the services of young and dashing middle order batsman Mithali Raj, who is down with a severe throat infection and may be suspected tonsillitis.India lost the match when they allowed New Zealand to run away to a comfortable 224 for five off 50 overs. None of the Indian bowlers, except left-arm spinner Neetu David, impressed on the day and Renu Margrate, who is under a cloud for suspect bowling action, could send down only four overs in which she conceded 21 runs. Only Neetu had excellent figures of 10 overs, three maidens, 28 runs and two wickets.While opener Anna O'Leary anchored the Kiwi innings with a patient 89, Debbie Hockley (53) and Haidee Tiffen (50 not out) knocked the stuffing out of the Indian bowling. Haidee in particular was very severe on the Indian bowlers and set a blistering pace. Her unbeaten 50 runs came off just 36 balls with five hits to the fence. Anna's 89 runs were scored off 146 balls and included three fours.The Indian batting also floundered at the outset and the early run out of opener Anjum Chopra put the breaks on the Indian effort. India had lost three wickets with 39 runs on the board in 13.5 overs. Chandrakanta Kaul and Smita Harikrishna then tried to repair the damage, but it was to late. The fourth wicket pair added 51 runs before India lost a spate of wickets. Chandrakanta remained unbeaten on 59 runs (111 balls, six fours) as India completed their 50 overs on 151 for seven.