Source: Alex Whitehead/

Australia beat New Zealand in dramatic finale to top Group F

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A last-gasp Maria Folau miss handed Australia a 50-49 victory in the Group F decider against New Zealand at the Vitality Netball World Cup this morning.

With both teams already having secured their places in the semi-finals, the battle to top the group looked to be going Australia’s way as they opened up a six-goal lead at half time.

However, an impressive second half from the Silver Ferns brought them right back into the game. Australian captain Caitlin Bassett put the Diamonds back in front with 50 seconds remaining, after which New Zealand took possession and were able to work the ball into the circle to allow Folau a last-gasp chance to equalise.

Her attempt was off target, however, and the 11-time champions were able to celebrate topping the group. Their semi-final opponents will be decided this evening, when England and South Africa play each other for the chance to top Group G.

Elsewhere in Group F, Malawi won the battle of the African nations, beating Zimbabwe 59-43 to claim third in the group. Northern Ireland will play-off for ninth place later in the tournament, after they recorded a narrow 46-43 win over Barbados.

Results of session 13 matches:

Northern Ireland 46-43 Barbados (Group F)

Australia 50-49 New Zealand (Group F)

Zimbabwe 43-59 Malawi (Group F)

The latest preliminaries stage 2 group tables are available here.