The New Zealand netball team suffered a shock 57-53 defeat by Malawi today and are under pressure to advance to post-section play.
After losing to Uganda the previous day, Malawi bounced back to notch the biggest win in their history.
The New Zealanders held the upper hand through the first half before Malawi found their feet.
The women in black struggled to adjust to Malawi’s resurgent form, the No 6-ranked team growing in belief the longer the match wore on.
Wins for New Zealand in their final two pool matches against Scotland on Monday and England on Wednesday are now crucial if they are to progress.
New Zealand shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit responded to her first start of the Commonwealth Games with an influential pairing with Maria Folau and the pair got New Zealand off to a good start.
With the livewire Samantha Sinclair steering the ship from centre, New Zealand dazzled on attack while the defensive trio of Claire Kersten, captain Katrina Grant and Temalisi Fakahokotau unsettled the dangerous Malawi shooting end with an unrelenting attitude.
Folau showed her full repertoire, potting her trademark long-range shots as New Zealand took an imposing 18-11 lead at the end of a high-scoring first quarter.
Shooter Bailey Mes and defender Kelly Jury took over from Selby-Rickit and Fakahokotau at the start of the second quarter, but Malawi began to fight back. They edged to within three before New Zealand finished with a flourish.
Sinclair and Grace Kara upped the ante, delivering a string of quality ball into the circle to maintain New Zealand’s seven-goal advantage, 32-25 at halftime.
Growing by the minute, Malawi continued to press forward. On the back of their inspiring shooter Kumwenda, Malawi, an proved an irresistible force, they forced New Zealand into scramble mode.
Malawi won the third quarter17-9 and, with the pressure really on, closed out the final quarter 15-12.
For New Zealand Selby-Rickit landed 15 of 17 shots, Folau had 31 of 39 and Mes had 7 of 12. Kumwenda was superb for Malawi with 41 of 46, an 89 per cent success ratio under extreme pressure. She was well supported by Chimalira’s 16 from 20.
Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby said she was extremely disappointed by New Zealand’s performance.
“It's one of those things you never want to do and we're really disappointed with the product we put out there today, and we got punished for it,'” Southby said.
"We were guilty of not really punishing them when we had that lead before halftime. Then in the third quarter we just took our foot off the pedal and didn't do our jobs."
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Maria Folau Te Paea Selby-Rickit Katrina Grant Temalisi Fakahokotau Samantha Sinclair Bailey Mes Kelly Jury Grace Kara Janine Southby Netball