Debutants Singapore made a disastrous start to their Under-19 Asia Cup campaign in Galle, Sri Lanka, yesterday, when they lost to Pakistan by nine wickets.
From 42-1, the national cricketers collapsed to 78 all out in 25.1 overs, on a rather easy-paced wicket.
"Pakistan are a good team and their bowlers bowled well, showing their experience," said Singapore's coach Shoib Razak. "But mentally, our boys couldn't cope with playing at the Asian level for the first time. The application was not there."
Singapore's U-19 team have done well at the Asian regional level in recent years but this is the first time in decades that they are competing against the continent's top teams, including India and Sri Lanka.
Pakistan raced to victory in the Group B match yesterday by scoring 80-1 in 8.3 overs, with the Singapore fielders helping them on by dropping three catches. "Our total was not good enough to defend," said Razak. "Three dropped catches didn't aid our cause."
Singapore will aim to bounce back against Bangladesh, who beat Afghanistan by four wickets in Matara yesterday, in their second Group B match at the same Galle International Stadium today.
Pakistan were certainly at a different level," said Singapore's captain Janak Prakash. "But we realised that we are not far behind. If we apply ourselves, we can beat these teams. We will be giving our 100 per cent against Bangladesh."
If it is any consolation to Singapore's players, Malaysia were bowled out for 54 runs by India yesterday and lost the Group A match by 235 runs in Colombo.