The West Indies pulled off a shock victory over defending champions England in the Women's Cricket World Cup in Dunedin ©Getty Images

Defending champions England suffered a shock defeat at the Women’s Cricket World Cup to the West Indies at Dunedin in New Zealand.

The West Indies pulled off another upset as they beat England by seven runs at the University Oval to secure their first-ever World Cup victory over England at their sixth attempt.

After edging out hosts New Zealand in their opening encounter, the West Indies were 81 for no loss before Sophie Ecclestone’s incredible 21st over saw three wickets fall to halt their momentum.

But Shemaine Campbelle and Chedean Nation put on 123 for the fifth wicket to set England 226 to win, six more runs than Heather Knight’s side had ever chased down to win a World Cup game.

The 2017 winners stuttered frequently in reply before a 61-run partnership for the ninth wicket between Ecclestone and Kate Cross seemed to be taking them to victory, only for two wickets in four balls in Anisa Mohammed’s 48th over to seal it for the West Indies.

It leaves England without a win in their opening two matches having been beaten by Australia in their first match.

Shemaine Campbelle top scored for the West Indies as they pulled off their first ever victory over England in the Women's Cricket World Cup  ©Getty Images
Shemaine Campbelle top scored for the West Indies as they pulled off their first ever victory over England in the Women's Cricket World Cup ©Getty Images

England will think they have only themselves to blame after dropping five catches, including when Deandra Dottin was put down with the very first ball of the game.

She went on with Hayley Matthews to contribute 31 in the opening partnership 81 for the first wicket.

Campbelle made 66 with the bat for the victors, sharing in that large partnership for the fifth wicket with Nation, who finished unbeaten on 49, at the West Indies reached a total of 225 for five.

Tammy Beaumont made 46 off 76 balls at the top of the order for England, but received little in the way of support, and when she was the fifth batter out, her side were in trouble at 94-5.

Danni Wyatt and Sophia Dunkley tried to right things but fell in quick succession for 33 off 31 and 38 off 35 and were followed by Katherine Brunt as England slumped to 156-8 in the 35th over.

But, before Mohammed’s intervention in the 48th over, England looked like pulling off a great escape, but once the West Indies made the breakthrough, they pounced to complete a famous win.

The tailenders had put England into what seemed a winning position before Cross was run out for 27 at the non-striker’s end to bring Anya Shrubsole to the crease and when she was bowled for a duck by Mohammed the West Indies could celebrate a second nail-biting win.

This damaging defeat has left England's defence of the trophy hanging in the balance with a huge game against South Africa coming up next Monday (March 14) in their hopes of retaining the title.

"The fielding performance wasn't us," said England captain Knight.

"We're not too concerned, there's a bit of frustrating but there's a lot of we could've done differently there.

"We've got to be better as a fielding group."

Tomorrow hosts New Zealand are due to play India in their second match at Seddon Park in Hamilton.