India made a return to the final-four of the Women’s World T20 for the first time since 2010, with a comfortable 52-run win over Ireland.
On a pitch that showed some turn and variable bounce due to overnight showers, Mithali used all her experience to build a foundation for India.
She combined with Smriti Mandhana to post a 67-run opening partnership, of which Mandhana scored 33.
The duo helped India set the base for a safe score, but the India innings lost some momentum towards the end, losing their last four wickets for 27 runs, finishing at 145 for six.
After Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues joined Mithali in a 40-run partnership, but no other batter in the top six got into double figures.
Mithali reached her fifty in the 18th over, finishing on 51, making her the first woman to score seven T20I fifties in a calendar year.
The eventual win, their third in the tournament, which tied them with Australia on six points, but behind on net run-rate, gave India their seventh consecutive T20I win, their longest streak in the format.
There was little joy in Ireland’s chase, which ended on 93 for eight, as only two batters got past single figures, strangled by the slowness of the pitch and the Indian spinners. Wickets fell regularly and then in a heap, as Isobel Joyce top scored with 33.
Clare Shillington set a historic mark for Ireland on the way to her 23, becoming the first Irish batter to score more than 1000 T20I runs.
Scores in brief:
India: 145-6, 20 overs (Mithali Raj 51, Smriti Mandhana 33; Kim Garth 2-22)
Ireland: 93-8 in 20 overs (Isobel Joyce 33, Clare Shillington 23; Radha Yadav 3-25, Deepti Sharma 2-15)
New Zealand women seal consolation victory
In the second game of the day, New Zealand outlasted a racing start from Pakistan captain Javeria Khan to secure their first win of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018.
New Zealand put up a team effort with the bat to score 144 for seven, with their rearranged top four scoring 122 of those runs.
Sophie Devine retuned to open the batting with Suzie Bates, and the two put on 59 for the first wicket with a mix of aggression and good running. Bates top scored with 35, and Devine was close behind with 32.
Amy Satterthwaite and the in-form Katie Martin then added 37 for the fourth wicket, until both were dismissed in a series that saw four wickets fall for 13 runs in eight balls across the last two overs of the innings.
The late slump meant that New Zealand scored only 70 in their last 10 overs, failing to double their halfway score.
In reply, Javeria gave them a scare, following up her career best 74 not out in the last game with a quick-fire 36 off just 23 balls. That left Pakistan needing just 96 runs in the remaining 84 balls with eight wickets in hand.
But she received no support from the other end, only one other regular batter getting into double figures.
The spin duo of Jess Watkin and Amelia Kerr finished with six wickets between them, bowling Pakistan out for 90 in exactly 18 overs.
Scores in brief:
New Zealand: 144-6, 20 overs (Suzie Bates 35, Sophie Devine 32; Aliya Riaz 2-29, Sana Mir 2-35)
Pakistan: 90 all out in 18 overs (Javeria Khan 36; Jess Watkin 3-9, Amelia Kerr 3-21)
England really are very, very bad at batting.
England went very, very England on Friday.
The stop-start nature of the day annoyed Jofra apparently. We didn’t notice.
Jofra did Jofra things at Lord’s, and Jimmy things at Leeds.
How far can India extend their first innings?
Absolutely mental nonsense at Headingley, quite frankly. Again.
Rain mucking things up in Colombo again.
Don’t break Jofra, warns Mark Butcher.
Steve Smith not being there is massive for both sides, says Mark Butcher – and he’s right you know.
In week four it's James and Aakash...