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Women’s cricket lines up for 2022 Commonwealth Games debut on opening day

The eight-team women’s T20 competition, a new entrant in the 2022 edition of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, will be held over eight days at Edgbaston, starting July 29, the opening day of the multi-sport event.

As per the official daily schedule published by Birmingham 2022 on Friday, the Games, where cricket will make a reappearance for the first time since 1998, will feature a total of 19 sports contested over 11 days, between July 29 and August 8. The last of the medal events in the women’s cricket tournament, one of the three new sports along with beach volleyball and para table tennis to be added to the programme, will be held on August 7.

Cricket, in the form of a 50-over men’s competition, was last played at the Games during the 1998 edition in Kuala Lumpur. Sixteen teams contested, with South Africa, featuring the likes of Shaun Pollock and Jacques Kallis, beating a strong Australia side, boasting of the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and the Waugh brothers, in the final to clinch gold. The matches, however, were only accorded List A, and not international, status.

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A banner for Birmingham’s bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games Getty Images

In June, the organisers had announced announced that the Games would start a day later than originally scheduled, with the Opening Ceremony now due to take place on July 28.

Aside from the Commonwealth Games, the women’s international cricket calendar for 2022 will feature an ODI World Cup in New Zealand, a T20 World Cup in South Africa, and the Ashes in Australia. Given the inaugural women’s Under-19 World Cup, scheduled for January next year in Bangladesh, is also likely to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it remains to be seen if the ICC slot it in an already crammed 2022 calendar.

In a media release published in August last year, the ICC described the addition of the women’s T20 competition as a “truly historic moment for women’s cricket and the global cricket community.”

“Fast and exciting, the T20 format is the perfect fit for the Commonwealth Games and offers another chance to showcase women’s cricket on the global stage as part of our ambitious plans to accelerate the growth of the game, whilst inspiring the next generation of cricketers,” said chief executive Manu Sawhney

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