England paid the price for some "irresponsible" batting as they suffered a two-run defeat to Australia in their opening Super Six game, says Clare Connor.
The defending champions bowled Australia out for 147 in 44.4 overs but fell just short of their target in a tense finish in Mumbai despite a gallant last-wicket stand of 31 between tailenders Holly Colvin and Anya Shrubsole.
Shrubsole, who had earlier taken 3-24, was left unbeaten on 13 when Colvin (2-19 and 16) edged Erin Osborne while attempting to cut.
"They showed lots of courage at the end - Holly has been in that situation before but not for some years, while Anya Shrubsole has barely batted for England," said Connor, ECB Head of England's Women's Cricket.
"They batted in an assured way and played good cricket shots. The field was up for much of the time and they had a little bit of luck but they batted really, really well. It was a very positive partnership. Shrubsole looks far from being a No 11.
"But unfortunately England fell short of the total. While it was tense and it would have been magical if they had done it - it really shouldn't have been left to numbers 10 and 11."
Somerset seamer Shrubsole had earlier produced an excellent new-ball spell to reduce Australia to 15-3 before a sixth-wicket partnership of 82 between Lisa Sthalekar (41) and Sarah Coyte gave Jodie Fields' attack something to bowl at.
Megan Schutt claimed the prized wickets of England skipper Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor early on before Holly Ferling, playing in only her second ODI, induced a collapse that saw four England wickets tumble for just two runs forcing Lydia Greenway (49) to rebuild the innings.
"At the halfway stage England would have felt confident of getting this score - they've been getting scores of 200-plus on this same pitch," former England seamer Isa Guha told Sky Sports.
"But in the same way that Australia weren't quite sure about Anya Shrubsole's bowling, perhaps England weren't quite sure about the Aussie attack.
"That's not an excuse but they haven't faced too much of Holly Ferling, Megan Schutt and Julie Hunter if at all. They bowled in the right areas but at the same time England didn't play as well as they would have liked."
The result takes Australia top of the Super Six table and leaves England languishing in fourth, with matches against South Africa and New Zealand to come on Sunday and Wednesday respectively.
"It was a massive game and that now puts Australia four points clear of us with two matches each to play in the Super Sixes," reflected Connor.
"The most disappointing thing was that as a batting unit we didn't back up the great work that the bowlers had put in. I felt that we gifted our wickets a bit to Australia - they didn't have to work particularly hard for them. There were some very irresponsible shots at the top of the order.
"We are now in a position where England have got to rely on some other potentially unusual or shock results. We probably need the West Indies to beat a couple of teams or South Africa to pull off a win or two.
"England didn't take ownership of the game. The first half was so impressive - Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole, Holly Colvin, Arran Brindle - the bowling unit, worked so well.
"Charlotte Edwards and Holly Colvin were on the wrong end of a couple of ropey lbw decisions but England shouldn't be passing the buck because essentially the team didn't perform."
Watch Australia in their next Super Six game when they take on Sri Lanka from 3.25am this Sunday on Sky Sports 1 HD.