India’s T20 skipper Harmanpreet Kaur defended her decision to leave ODI captain Mithali Raj out of India playing XI in Wellington on Wednesday. Speaking about her decision, Harman said the team was looking to give youngsters like Priya Punia an opportunity to play in foreign conditions since the next few T20 series would be played back home.

“We are looking to give chance to the young girls. We only have these 3 overseas games and then we are playing more in Indian conditions. That’s the reason we are giving chances to the young girls,” Harmanpreet Kaur said after the defeat in the first T20I.

Raj, who is also the highest run-getter in the shortest format of the game for Indian women, has not been included in Team’s T20I squad since she was left out of the team for the Women’s World T20 semifinal against England last year.

On Wednesday, Team India collapsed once again after a flying start by vice-captain Smriti Mandhana and Jemimah Rodrigues.

“Bowlers did really well as this track was really good to bat on. We still restricted them to 159. But in the last 10 overs we didn’t bat well,” said the Moga girl.

When asked about the areas that Team India needed to improve before the second T20I on Friday, Harmanpreet said, “We need to improve our batting in the last 10 overs. That is the area we are always struggling. We need someone who can give us a good strike-rate when we are finishing the innings.”

Meanwhile, Indian opener Smriti Mandhana, who smashed 58 off 38 balls, said she needed to bat through the innings and be more careful with shot selection.

“Tactically, the best option according to me is that I bat all through. But we will have a discussion about this and I feel it is better that one of the top batters bat through till the 18th over or so, so that after that the rest can rally around them,” Mandhana said after the match.  “You have to pick the areas and go for the correct shots. And when we had the run rate under control, under seven, my shot was a bad one to play.”

With the win over India by 23 runs, New Zealand has taken a lead of 1-0 in the ongoing three-match T20I series.