Opener Mithali Raj held the innings together with an unbeaten half-century as Indian women notched up a comfortable seven-wicket victory over South Africa in the first T20 International on Tuesday.

Mithali (54) shared two crucial stands – a 69-run partnership for the third wicket with debutant Jemimah Rodrigues (37) and then added 52 runs with Veda Krishnamurthy (37 not out) for the unbroken fourth wicket – as India chased down a target of 165 with seven balls to spare.

This is India’s highest successful run-chase in the shortest format, comfortably better than their previous highest of 141.

India lead the five-match T20 International series 1-0.

Mithali’s knock came from 48 deliveries and she hit six fours, one six and carried her bat through the innings. India finished at 168/3 18.5 overs.

The 17-year-old Mumbai player Rodrigues, playing for the first time in India colours, also batted impressively, hitting four boundaries and a six during her breezy 27-ball knock.

After Rodrigues was out in the 14th over, Krishnamurthy did not allow the momentum to slow down, as she hit three boundaries and three sixes in her 22-ball innings. Smriti Mandhana, contributed 28 while one-down Harmanpreet Kaur was run out for a duck in the first ball she faced.

Earlier, put into bat, South Africa scored 164/4 in their allotted 20 overs, with Chloe Tryon making a hurricane 32 not out off just seven balls. She struck four sixes and two boundaries in a late batting pyrotechnic.

A heel injury has forced veteran India pacer Jhulan Goswami to withdraw from the five-match series but the team did not feel her absence till Tyron’s blitz gave the South Africans a competitive total. For India, Anuja Patil grabbed two wickets for four runs while Shikha Pandey and Pooja Vastrakar took one apiece.

Brief Scores: South Africa 164/4 in 20 overs (Chloe Tryon 32 not out) lost to India 168/3 (Mithali Raj 54 not out) by seven wickets.