Mithali, who on Saturday became the first Indian batswoman to notch 1000 World Cup runs, batted cautiously to steady the ship along with all-rounder Harmanpreet as the New Zealand bowlers kept testing the Indians with some tight line and length.
Gayakwad said, "I was out for six games but I didn't feel bad".
Gayakwad was absolutely brilliant as she picked up five wickets giving away just 15 runs in her 7.3-over spell.
Rai also congratulated skipper Mithali Raj, for scoring a match-winning hundred against the Kiwis in the must-win game.
It is a virtual knock out match for both sides as the victor of this match will progress to the semi-finals. Rao wished that the Indian women's cricket team achieve greater heights under the leadership of Raj.
India did not start well as they were two-down in the eighth over.
IST: New Zealand start with a Maiden! She has been creating and breaking records in a big stage. The two put up 108-run stand in just 78 balls before both of them were dismissed in the final over.
India need a point from the match to make the semi-finals.
CoA chairman Vinod Rai said, "I want to extend my heartiest congratulations to Team India's on staging a remarkable comeback in the ICC World Cup".
Smriti Mandhana, Punam Raut, Deepti Sharma and Raj have all been in good touch through the tournament but the batting lineup has not clicked together, except in the opener when they scored 281.
She has already hit three half centuries and a 46 not out, besides today's ton, from the seven matches she has played so far.
There was no respite for New Zealand batters as India kept Chipping way with the wickets.