Cricket is returning to the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 24 years with the inaugural women’s tournament.
Eight teams will compete in 16 matches, with the winner decided in the final on August 7.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the first ball of the T20 tournament starting on July 29.
All teams are divided into two groups of four. The top two teams in each will qualify for the semi-finals. The first-placed teams in their group will play the second-placed team in the opposing group. In this way, the winning teams of the semi-finals will reach the finals.
The losers of the semi-finals will face off in a third-place playoff for the bronze medal, while the gold and silver medals will be decided in the final.
Group A: Australia, Barbados, India, Pakistan
Group B: England, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka
Cricket matches in the Commonwealth Games will start from July 29.
Where are the West Indies?
The T20 ranking would have been good enough for automatic qualification, but the West Indies are a multi-nation group that competes separately at the Commonwealth Games, so their place in the tournament is determined by regional qualifiers.
The coronavirus pandemic prevented the qualifiers and Barbados were selected due to their recent wins in 2019.
How did the rest of the teams qualify?
As hosts, England automatically qualified for the tournament, with the next five best teams in the ICC Women’s T20I rankings also qualifying (Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan).
The final placings were determined at the Commonwealth Games qualifiers held at the Kanara Oval in Malaysia.
In the five-team round-robin event, Chamari Athapaththu’s Sri Lanka remained unbeaten in the tournament, defeating Bangladesh, Scotland, Malaysia and Kenya for a place in the final.
In the final match, Sri Lanka defeated their nearest rivals in Nigar Sultana Joti’s team by 22 runs, Athapatthu’s 48 (28) being the highest score for both teams. Athapaththu was surprisingly the highest run-scorer in the tournament, and will likely be the biggest threat to Sri Lanka’s opponents in the tournament.
Was cricket included in the Commonwealth Games earlier?
Cricket has been included in the Games once before – as a 16-team tournament on the men’s side – at the Kuala Lumpur Games in 1998.
Chasing a target of 184 behind Shaun Pollock’s 4/19 (9), South Africa beat Australia in the final to clinch the gold medal. Mike Randall top-scored with 67 (106), Jack Kallis with 44 to ensure victory. In the bronze medal match, Chris Harris was crucial with both bat and ball, joint top-scoring with 56* before taking 2/20 (7.4) in a 51-run victory.
Will cricket return in 2026?
The Australian state of Victoria will host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, with cricket already in its opening programme.
The women’s tournament has been confirmed for a four-year period, with the men’s equivalent still to be determined.