SYDNEY (Reuters) - Indian's explosive top order needs to bat longer to support their wobbly middle order in the Women's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, opener Smriti Mandhana said on Saturday.
Mandhana, teenaged duo of Shafali Verma and Jemima Rodrigues and captain Harmanpreet Kaur headline what Australia coach Matthew Mott described as the most feared batting line-up in the tournament.
Their middle order, however, looked vulnerable in Wednesday's tri-series final against Australia in Melbourne.
Chasing 156 for victory, India looked very much on the course before their spectacular collapse when they lost seven wickets for only 29 runs as the hosts triumphed by 11 runs.
"The middle order could definitely improve," Mandhana said.
"There are some things we still have to figure out with our batting and we are trying hard to do that.
"The best way to support the middle order is for the top order to bat 20 overs. I think we need to try and bat long as top four.
"We must try not to get out in the 16th or 17th over and the problem will be sorted if we can stay until the 20th over."
India will take on defending champions Australia in the Feb. 21 tournament opener in Sydney and Mandhana expects the top order to fire them deep into the tournament.
"We have some great batters and our order is very balanced. The top four or five are quite settled," said the 23-year-old southpaw.
"We've had the same top five for the last year and that's been a good thing for us."
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Himani Sarkar)