Harmanpreet Kaur said the middle order experimentation was done to see how the batters fared in the lead up to the World Cup but also admitted it let the side down against Pakistan as India lost by 13 runs in Sylhet on Friday.

India suffered their first defeat in the ongoing Women’s T20 Asia Cup in Bangladesh. With this performance, India were also handed their first defeat against their subcontinental rivals for the first time in over six years as Indian batters faltered in what could have been a straightforward chase.

Women’s T20 Asia Cup, IND vs PAK as it happened: Ghosh’s cameo in vain as Pakistan win by 13 runs

After Thailand upset Pakistan by 19 runs on Thursday, they came back in strong fashion to outplay India in all departments on the following day. While Pakistan posted a solid 137 for six, India were dismissed for merely 124 in 19.4 overs.

Barring a whirlwind 13-ball 26 from Richa Ghosh, the Indian batters struggled to get going. The middle order also saw some changes and experimentation, in order to give them more exposure to pressure situations but the plans did not work out. The loss, as a result, can be largely attributed to the poor batting display.

Talking about the same in the post-match ceremony, captain Harmanpreet Kaur said, “I think in the middle we were trying to give chances to other batters because going forward, we want to give chances so that when you play main games, you need to have everybody who can have good amount of runs on the hand. That was the reason we wanted to give chances. I think that really cost us today.”

She added: “I think it was a chaseable target. I don’t think it was something we needed to put a lot of pressure on ourselves, but I think in the middle overs, we were not able to take singles and then rotate the strike. That was very important for whichever format you play. I think we played too many dot balls and I think that cost us.”

The change in the batting positions saw Harmanpreet move down to seven and she confirmed later on that it was done in order to give other batters a chance in the middle order. Talking about the change in positions, she said, “It’s very important that whoever is new in the side, they should get good number of games before heading to the World Cup.”

“If they get good games, then I just feel, if whenever you want to change the team, you should feel quite confident whoever is coming in. So I think it was a great opportunity for other batters to go and execute as well but unfortunately, you know, they were not able to make it.”

While India have won their other matches in the group stage so far, they will be tasked to come back in the next couple of games against defending champions Bangladesh and in-form Thailand.

“I think we are a side we never take any any team lightly and I don’t think we need to think too much. It’s part of the game. You know, yesterday, Thailand played good cricket. So it’s part of the game you need to respect whoever played good cricket... and today, you know, they (Pakistan) played good cricket, they deserve to win.”

She added: “And of course, (there are) a lot of areas which we have learned and I think going forward, we need to just work on those areas and be strong.”