India ODI vice-captain Harmanpreet Kaur on Saturday said the team was lacking match practice and will need time to build momentum again after losing their first international match in a year by eight wickets against South Africa.

India suffered a batting collapse and could only manage 177/9, a target which South Africa overhauled with ease to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series in Lucknow.

“We didn’t get any international cricket for a year. We played three IPL [Women’s T20 Challenge] games but apart from that we didn’t get much time where we got to to work as a unit. In any format, as a team you need to spend time on the field and get ready for any series,” Haramanpreet said at the virtual post-match press conference.

“...In the past few years, we had built a rhythm but to create that rhythm again we will need some time. In the next game we will try to do that as a unit,” she added.

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The Indian team last played international cricket on March 8 last year when they lost to Australia in the T20 World Cup final. Additionally, they got only two days of nets before the series, making it tougher for the players to be at their best from the word go which was visible.

Harmanpreet (40 off 41) and Mithali Raj (50 off 85) were the only batters to get decent scores with the captain building partnerships with her deputy and then Deepti Sharma (27 off 46). The 31-year-old, playing her landmark 100th ODI, said this lack of partnerships hurt the team and the batters were guilty of throwing away their wickets.

“Whatever cricket you play, whether it is batting or bowling, you need partnerships.

“When you are playing after a long time there are chances were you can collapse. They bowled well but we also threw our wickets away. We need to be very pricey with our wickets, we cannot do this. In the next game we will try to create some partnerships because in the longer format, you need those partnerships. I think we didn’t bat as per our ability,” she said.

Talking about the batting order, she said: “We didn’t try much in our batting combinations, we went with the same batting combination which we used when we last played. Unfortunately, we didn’t have partnerships which are very important,” she added.

A big setback for India was how their spinners were neutralized by the rampaging South African openers Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt, who shared the highest-ever opening wicket stand against India in women’s One-Day International cricket.

“Today I felt our bowling was not up to the mark. We are a very experienced side bowling side our spinners are good but it can happen if you are playing after a long time, sometimes things cannot be in your favour. We had a bad day today, whatever we were doing, we couldn’t execute it,” she said.

The vice captain insisted that the team is keen to learn from the mistakes and turn the corner in the next game, on Tuesday.

“...we are one of the sides who like to learn from our mistakes and in the next game we will definitely look to learn from this and try to prove ourselves,” she added.

You can watch the press conference here.