Harmanpreet Kaur. (PTI Photo)SYLHET: India women's team skipper Harmanpreet Kaur on Friday blamed their shock loss to Pakistan on rejigged batting order, saying the decision to give batters enough game time before next year's T20 World Cup backfired.
India suffered only their third loss to arch-rivals Pakistan when Harmanpreet's side choked for 124 in their modest chase of 138 in the Women's Asia Cup here.
"It was a chaseable target. In the middle overs, we were not able to take singles and rotate the strike. We played too many dot balls," Harmanpreet said at the post-match presentation.
Opener Shafali Verma continued to be rested, while Harmanpreet returned to lead the side only to bat way down at No 7 as India continued to experiment in the lead up to the T20 World Cup in South Africa next year.
"I think in the middle we were trying to give other batters a chance. You have to do that as the tournament goes on, but it backfired and cost us the game," she said.
Sabbhineni Meghana continued to open in absence of Shafali as she got out cheaply for 15. India also lost Smriti Mandhana (17) inside the power-play.
Jemimah Rodrigues (2) also fell cheaply as the inexperienced middle-order comprising Dayalan Hemalatha (20) and Pooja Vastrakar (5) failed to steady the ship.
"For me it is important that whoever is new to the side, they should get enough games before the WC. It was a great opportunity for others," Harmanpreet, who scored a run-a-ball 12, said.
India last took on their arch-rivals at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in July, where they won by eight wickets en route to winning a silver medal.
"We don't take any team lightly. It is part of the game. They played good cricket and deserved to win. We need to work on areas and be strong," Harmanpreet said.
India will next face hosts and defending champions Bangladesh here on Saturday.
Pakistan, on the other hand, returned to winning ways after a shock reversal against Thailand on Thursday as they are now level with India (six) on points tally.
"It was a very important game for us after yesterday. We executed the things very well. We just wanted to take calculated risks," Pakistan skipper Bismah Maroof said.
Middle-order batter Nida Dar struck a 37-ball 56 not out to anchor their batting. She also chipped in with her offspin to return with 2 for 23.
"Nida played a crucial innings for us. In the middle we have gaps, and we know Nida cant hit so we look to hit the strength areas.
"We didn't assess the conditions well (yesterday). We read the conditions well today. We executed the plans very well today," she added.