India captain Shikhar Dhawan admitted that his team leaked too many runs in the death overs and fielded poorly, leading to the nine-run defeat to South Africa in the rain-hit first ODI here on Thursday.
Opting to bowl in the rain-curtailed 40-over-a-side game, India had reduced South Africa to 110 for 4 in 22.4 overs but David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen powered the visitors to 249 for 4.
While the Indian bowlers conceded 54 runs in the last five overs, the hosts were also guilty of dropping as many as four catches in the outfield.
"I thought 250 was too many runs. We gave away too many runs on a wicket that swung and spun, the fielding wasn't great, we leaked a few runs but this was a good learning experience for us," Dhawan said in the post-match presentation.
South Africa skipper Temba Bavuma said his bowlers lost a bit in the middle overs with Sanju Samson (86 not out) going great guns but he was happy that they managed to hold their nerves in the end.
"A good fight at the end, obviously Sanju pushed us at the end, but the boys stood firm and took us to the win," he said.
"Bowling upfront was good, in the first 15 overs by KG and Parnell. I thought we lost our way in the middle overs, gave away far too many runs, but at the end, the result did go our way and I'm happy with that."
Talking about his side's batting, Bavuma said: "We lost a couple of wickets in the middle overs, myself and Aiden (Markram), but the boys knuckled down.
"Miller and Klaasen played positively, stung together a partnership and took us to a good score." Heinrich Klaasen, who was adjudged the Player of the Match for his 74 not out off 65 balls, said it was a difficult wicket to bat.
Asked if the conditions were easy to bat, Klaasen said, "Not at all, the ball was moving a lot and was spinning just before I walked out to the middle.
"But we have worked hard in the nets, I do have a good record against India and looking forward to the rest of the games."
Keshav Maharaj, who took one for 23, said partnership between Miller and Klaasen was the turning point of the match.
"I thought Heinrich (Klaasen) came in and absorbed (the pressure) really well and David (Miller) was hitting the ball stupendously and just exploded in the back end and I think that was the difference between us and the Indian side, getting that partnership towards the end.
"We are just making sure that we are doing the right things and hopefully put in more performances going forward building towards the World Cup."
India and South Africa will now clash in the second ODI in Ranchi on Sunday.