Defending champions England are on the verge of being eliminated from the Women's Cricket World Cup after a third consecutive defeat today in Mount Maunganui ©Getty Images

Defending champions England are on the brink of being eliminated from the Women’s Cricket World Cup after losing their third consecutive match in New Zealand today.

South Africa pulled off an exciting three-wicket victory at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui to leave England to win their four remaining matches and hope that other fixtures go their way.

The Proteas chased down their highest total in World Cup history when they overhauled England's 235 for 9 with four balls remaining under the floodlights.

It was Trisha Chetty who swiped Nat Sciver through mid-wicket for the winning boundary in the last over, but she was only one of the heroines for South Africa on a memorable night.

Veteran all-rounder Marizanne Kapp was awarded player of the match after claiming five wickets in a one day international for the first time before taking South Africa to the brink of victory with a crucial 32 off 34 balls.

South Africa's Marizanne Kapp impressed with both bat and ball as she was voted player of the match in her side's three-wicket victory over England ©Getty Images
South Africa's Marizanne Kapp impressed with both bat and ball as she was voted player of the match in her side's three-wicket victory over England ©Getty Images

South Africa's chase had begun in nervous fashion from the start, after Lizelle Lee departed early courtesy of a beautiful in-swinger from Ana Shrubsole.

It was a just reward for the 2017 Lord's World Cup final hero Shrubsole. 

England's fielding woes at this World Cup certainly followed them throughout this innings with Laura Wolvaardt hitting 77 after being the fortuitous benefactor of four missed chances during her innings.

Wolvaardt was dropped on four, 23 and 62, while Amy Jones also missed a regulation stumping when the opener had just passed 50.

Along the way, she enjoyed partnerships of 56 and 73 with Tamzin Brits, who scored 23, and captain Sune Luus, who hit 36, which provided enough of a solid platform for Kapp and Chetty to complete the job.

Earlier, England had let a position of real strength slip through their grasp when they slumped from 149 for 3 in the 34th over to 235 for 9 by the end of the 50th over.

The departure of their two set batters Beaumont and Jones within a couple of overs of each other after they had put together a fourth wicket stand of 107 set in motion the collapse.

Kapp utilised her slower ball and cutters to good effect to collect three wickets at the death and finish with five wickets for 46 runs that resulted in England losing their way.

The Proteas' victory, which followed a similar close six-run win over Pakistan last Friday (March 11), has left a massive impact on the World Cup table as they now join Australia on top of the log as the only two remaining unbeaten teams.

Earlier, Bangladesh secured their first-ever Women’s Cricket World Cup win as Fargana Hoque’s patient 71 steered them to a historic nine-run victory over Pakistan at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

The batter anchored the Tigresses to 234 for seven before Fahima Khatun took three late wickets to help restrict Pakistan to 225 for nine, despite Sidra Amin’s superb 104.

Pakistan struggled to keep up with the required run-rate and lost regular wickets during the final 10 overs, just as they were looking to up the tempo.

They remain without a Women’s Cricket World Cup victory in 13 years, while Bangladesh celebrated a major milestone in their development after an impressive all-round display.

Tomorrow, the group leaders and six-time winners Australia are due to meet West Indies at Basin Reserve in Wellington.