BIRMINGHAM - Australia beat India by nine runs to claim the Commonwealth Games women’s T20 cricket gold medal on Sunday night. Australian women though emerged as gold medal winners yet the real winner was the sport (cricket) which delivered compelling competition and boosted its case to be included in the Olympics. A part of the Commonwealth Games programme for the first time, women’s cricket was one of the most soughtafter tickets in Birmingham particularly for Sunday’s absorbing final between top ranked Australia and cricket-mad India.

“You just have to look how many people came out and watched every single game even when England wasn’t playing,” said Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner. “It was amazing to see people just supporting women’s cricket. “I guess that was the best thing about this whole event was growing the game globally.”

Chasing 162, India looked to be in control when they were 118-2 midway through the 15th over but suffered a collapse after losing three wickets in quick succession, including key player Jemimah Rodrigues (33) and captain Harmanpreet Kaur (65). India’s lower batting order could not keep up with the pressure and were bowled out for 152 in the final over, with Australians Gardner taking 3-16 and Megan Schutt 2-27.

It was yet another achievement for the dominant Australians, who won the last two T20 World Cups in 2018 and 2020 and the 50-over World Cup earlier this year. “I think that match today was definitely worthy of a gold medal match,” said Jess Jonassen.

Earlier, New Zealand took the bronze after they comfortably defeated England by eight wickets, thanks to an excellent bowling performance. Hayley Jensen took 3-24, while Fran Jonas and Sophie Devine picked up two wickets each as England tumbled to 110-9 from their 20 overs. New Zealand captain Devine then scored an unbeaten 51 to wrap up their chase of 111 within 12 overs. “This Commonwealth Games has been an incredible experience,” offered England captain Nat Sciver. “The crowds have shown that people really love coming to watch. “I’d love for cricket to be in the Olympics.”

 

So would the International Cricket Council (ICC) which is reportedly spending $3 million on lobbying efforts to get the sport onto the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics programme.