Skipper Harmanpreet Kaur insisted India are on the right track in the ongoing Women's World T20 campaign in the Caribbean after two wins from as many games but conceded she was disappointed with the team's fielding effort against Pakistan on Sunday.
India were expected to dominate Pakistan, considering the contrasting ways in which the opening games panned out for the two teams in the sixth edition of the premier Twenty20 tournament.
While Kaur's women laid down an early marker with their dominant show against New Zealand, Pakistan had slipped to a 52-run defeat against former champions Australia on Friday.
However, Pakistan came up with a better performance, especially with the bat as Bismah Maroof and Nida Dar hit half-centuries to help the team post 133 on board. The Indians were sloppy on the field, dropping four easy catches even as their heads dropped towards the final overs.
Pakistan were sloppy as well as they were slapped with a 10-run penalty for running on the pitch. India eventually started the chase on 10 for 0 and a solid 73-run stand between former captain Mithali Raj (56 off 47) and vice-captain Smriti Mandhana (26 off 28) put them in the driver's seat.
"We bowled well in patches, but disappointed with the fielding, we need to improve a lot. It's important to bat and bowl well in the first 6 overs - we had some plans, I thought we did well with the ball today," Kaur said during the post-match presentation ceremony.
"(We have) a long way to go, still need to work hard at the nets, but we are on the right track at the moment, need to repeat the good things which we are doing," she added.
'Have to use Mithali Raj smartly'
Kaur, who had become the first Indian woman to score a T20I century on Friday, remained unbeaten on 14 as India completed the chase of 134 with an over to spare.
The skipper heaped praise on Raj, whose half-century at the top helped India gun down the total with ease.
Notably, the 35-year-old senior campaigner did not get to bat against New Zealand but she replaced Tania Bhatia at the top of the order and showcased her experience.
Kaur revealed the move to send Raj higher up the batting order was taken, considering her proficiency against spin, which has been Pakistan's primary weapon.
"Mithali is a key player for us, we have to use her in a smart way. They have a good spin attack and she is our best batter against spin. In high intensity games, her experience was vital as well," Kaur said.
India are currently tied on points (4) with group leaders Australia but are placed second because of their relatively inferior Net Run Rate.
Kaur's team need to win just one of their next two matches to all but book a place in the semi-finals. They face Ireland on Thursday before taking on leaders Australia in their final group match on Saturday.
Notably, India haven't made past the group stages in the last three editions of the tournament, with their best finish — a semi-final appearance — coming in 2009 and 2010.