CWG 2022: Australia favourites for women’s cricket gold as Covid-hit India, England battle injury concerns


Women’s cricket will make a debut at the Commonwealth Games, with eight nations – divided into two groups – to compete in the 2022 edition at Edgbaston, Birmingham between July 29 to August 7.

Although it will be a first-ever experience for women, cricket has featured at the Games previously when a List A men’s tournament was held at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The matches, involving 16 teams, were played in the 50-over format, with South Africa winning gold, Australia and New Zealand taking silver and bronze home respectively.

Commonwealth Games 2022: Full Coverage

The women’s tournament will take place in T20I format after the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) lobbied successfully for the inclusion of women’s cricket. Alongside the hosts England, the other qualified teams were determined based on the T20I rankings as of April 1, 2021.

India, Australia, Barbados and Pakistan are in Group A, while Sri Lanka, England, New Zealand and South Africa are placed in Group B. The top two teams from the respective pools will progress to the semi-finals.

The top team in Group A will play the second-placed team in Group B in the semi-finals, and the top team in Group B will play the second-placed team in Group A for a place in the final. The losing team from each semi-final will go into the bronze-medal playoff.

Let’s have a look at the eight teams that will compete at the Commonwealth Games 2022.

GROUP A: Australia, Barbados, India, Pakistan

AUSTRALIA

The reigning T20 World Cup champions, Australia named the same squad, that won the 2022 ODI World Cup, for the Commonwealth Games. Although the side lost their head coach Matthew Mott to England men’s white-ball team, Australia’s depth is unparalleled. The five-time T20 World Cup winners are favourite to win gold with big-game players in the line-up. Their captain Meg Lanning recently dethroned her teammate Beth Mooney to become No.1 T20I player.

Squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes, Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington.

BARBADOS

Barbados will make their international debut at the Commonwealth Games, representing the West Indies. Since the multi-nation West Indies couldn’t particiapate at the CWG, the Cricket West Indies used T20 Blaze 2021 as a qualification tournament to decide which nation would fly out to Birmingham. With the 2021 T20 Blaze called off due to Covid-19, Barbados was picked as they had won the last competition in 2019. Although the team is new at global level, the players aren’t as seven of them are part of West Indies.

Squad: Hayley Matthews (c), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shanika Bruce, Shai Carrington, Shaunte Carrington, Shamilia Connell, Deandra Dottin, Keila Elliott, Trishan Holder, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Alisa Scantlebury, Shakera Selman, Tiffany Thorpe, Aaliyah Williams.

INDIA

The finalists of the T20 World Cup 2020, India have been hit by Covid-19 cases ahead of the Commonwealth Games. The squad that landed in Birmingham consists of 13 players and the size is likely to remain the same at least for the first two group matches against Australia and Pakistan.

Top-order batter S Meghana and all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar are in isolation in Bengaluru after being tested positive for Covid-19. While Meghana was picked as a back-up option for openers Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma, Vastrakar’s absence could be a blow for the side. The all-rounder, who played a pivotal role during India’s ODI World Cup 2022 campaign, offers fearless hitting in the lower order and is capable to provide early breakthroughs.

Squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, S. Meghana, Taniya Sapna Bhatia, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Thakur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Radha Yadav, Harleen Deol, Sneh Rana. Standbys: Richa Ghosh, Poonam Yadav, Simran Dil Bahadur.

PAKISTAN

Pakistan have a few promising names in the squad in spite of not having a good history at ICC events. The side has managed to win only seven out of 28 matches at the T20 World Cups. Although Pakistan have found themselves in a tricky CWG group, they are capable to cause an upset. During the recent ODI World Cup, Pakistan had a good chance to stun India in their opening match before eventually losing their plot. Pakistan have some good upcoming bowlers in Fatima Sana and Diana Baig, and their batting unit is expected to rally around captain Bismah Maroof.
Squad: Bismah Maroof (c), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Gul Feroza, Iram Javed, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Tuba Hassan.

Group B: England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka

ENGLAND

England took a bold step and dropped their experienced opener Tammy Beaumont from the CWG squad. The hosts have included teenagers Alice Capsey and Freya Kemp, both 17 years of age, fast bowler Issy Wong and all-rounder Bryony Smith. England have won the T20 World Cup only once, the inaugural 2009 edition.

The hosts could potentially be hit by an injury scar with their captain Heather Knight in doubt due to a hip injury. Knight, who led England to the 2017 ODI World Cup glory, missed the second and third T20I matches against South Africa. According to the latest update, Knight had irritation in her hip joint and she is being assessed and treated ahead of the Games.

Squad: Heather Knight (c), Nat Sciver (vc), Maia Bouchier, Katherine Brunt, Alice Capsey, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Freya Kemp, Bryony Smith, Issy Wong, Danni Wyatt.

NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand suffered a couple of blows before landing in the UK, with Jess Kerr getting ruled out due to a foot injury while Lauren Down pulled out of the CWG to focus on her well-being. The duo was replaced by Lea Tahuhu, the experienced fast bowler who was initially overlooked, and uncapped Claudia Green.

The side will miss the services of their former captain Amy Satterthwaite, who retired from international cricket after her central contract was not renewed. Amid all of this, there is good news as well. The star all-rounder Amelia Kerr, who had tested positive for Covid-19, has recovered and re-joined the group ahead of the Games.

Squad: Sophie Devine (c), Suzie Bates, Eden Carson, Izzy Gaze, Claudia Green, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Fran Jonas, Amelia Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Jess McFadyen, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu.

SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa will begin their Commonwealth Games without the services of their four big players – Marizanne Kapp, Dane van Niekerk, Trisha Chetty and Lizelle Lee. Kapp, who returned home during the South Africa tour of England, will not be returning for the Commonwealth Games due to family reasons. Kapp’s brother-in-law is in intensive care after being involved in an accident.

Meanwhile, Kapp’s wife and teammate van Niekerk, who is still recovering from the fractured ankle that ruled her out of the 2022 ODI World Cup, will miss the CWG alongside Lee, who shocked the cricketing world with her sudden recent retirement from international cricket during the tour of England, and Shetty who has been ruled out due to back injury.

Squad: Suné Luus (c), Chloé Tryon (vc), Anneke Bosch, Nadine de Klerk, Mignon du Preez, Lara Goodall, Shabnim Ismail, Sinalo Jafta, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune, Laura Wolvaardt, Delmi Tucker, Tazmin Brits.

SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka qualified for the Commonwealth Games 2022 after winning the Qualifier earlier in January. The island nation pipped Bangladesh, Scotland, Malaysia and Kenya to complete the eight teams in Birmingham. Sri Lanka have added uncapped leg-spinner Rashmi Silva, who made her ODI debut against India last month. The 16-year-old Vishmi Gunaratne has been included in the squad on the back of her impressive 45 in a T20I match against India recently.

Squad: Chamari Athapaththu (c), Hasini Perera, Harshitha Samarawickrama, Vishmi Gunaratne, Malsha Shehani, Nilakshi de Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Ama Kanchana, Achini Kulasuriya, Inoka Ranaweera, Udeshika Prabodhani, Sugandika Kumari, Rashmi de Silva, Oshadi Ranasinghe Anushka Sanjeewani.

Australia will play India, followed by Barbados versus Pakistan in the curtain-raiser of the women’s cricket tournament at the Commonwealth Games on July 29.

— ENDS —





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