Hamilton: Captain Mithali Raj had no hesitation in admitting that top order's performance hasn't been up to the mark as India didn't have "a batter to take the game deep" in their 62-run defeat against New Zealand in the ICC Women's World Cup.
India managed only 198 in a chase of 260 against the White Ferns after only 50 runs were scored off 20 overs here on Thursday.
"Our batting, especially the top and middle order needs to fire because other teams are posting 250-260," Raj said at post-match presentation ceremony.
"We thought it was chaseable but provided we had the top order going. But back-to-back wickets put a lot of pressure because we didn't have batter who can take it deep.
"There was bounce and good carry off the surface but it was not a tough strip to bat on. Their seamers were hitting the right areas with the bounce, but it wasn't unplayable and we could have done better," she added.
Raj has expressed the same concern after the win against Pakistan in India's campaign opener when the lower order made up for the faltering top order.
The silver lining for India once again was the bowling effort according to the skipper as they were able to restrict the hosts, who were cruising towards a huge total at one stage, to 260 for 9.
"Our bowlers have done well today and earlier as well. After the early wickets we got, the way they had a partnership I thought they'd get around 270-280. There was bounce and it got slower in the second innings," Raj observed.
For home team skipper Sophie Devine, it was a "complete performance".
"Really complete performance. We built partnerships throughout, (Amy) Satterthwaite was outstanding, we laid the platform and we knew it was a good score," Devine said.
She was all praise for the bowlers as they tightened the noose around Indian top order.
"Our bowlers were outstanding, didn't give them anything. We have different people putting their hand up in different phases of the game, that's what we want in the World Cup.
"The girls were outstanding today, they had the pressure on them to make sure they stood up, (Frances) Mackay (off spinner) was outstanding as well. (Lea) Tahuhu in the middle overs was certainly a role we saw her play last year in the UK."
Devine said that she is spoilt for choice with multiple bowling options.
"We've got so many options now to bowl, our spinners, so it's a really good space. (This World Cup) is an interesting one, the first one was a bad game of cricket but we took a lot of positives. We didn't play our best that day."...