All you need to know about cricket at the Comm Games

Cricket… in the Commonwealth Games?

Yes! Cricket is making its return to the Commonwealth Games for the first time since 1998. Back then, men’s one-day cricket featured in the Games staged in Kuala Lumpur.

This is the first time women’s cricket has been part of the Games, with the T20 format to feature.

Women’s T20 cricket has already been confirmed as returning for the 2026 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Australia, but it remains to be determined whether a men’s competition will also be introduced.

When does it start?

This Friday! It all gets underway at 11am local time (8pm AEST) when Australia meet India at Edgbaston in front of what is expected to be a sell-out crowd.

The teams met in the opening game of the last T20 World Cup, when India upset the Aussies on their home turf, before Meg Lanning’s team had their revenge in the final, and the latest installment of one of cricket’s fiercest rivalries has the potential to be another epic.

There will be 16 games played over 10 days, culminating in the medal matches on August 7.

Click here for the full Commonwealth Games T20 cricket schedule

Where is it being played?

Every game will be played at Birmingham’s Edgbaston Stadium.

The ground is a high-profile venue for men’s cricket in the United Kingdom but has rarely hosted women’s matches. After sporadic Tests and ODIs at the ground during the 1960s and 1970s, no women’s internationals were played at Edgbaston until a T20 between England and South Africa in 2014, with none played since. An Australian women’s side hasn’t played on this ground since 1976.

How does it work – and where are the Windies?

Eight teams are split across two groups of four, with the top two in each group qualifying for the semi-finals.

Sides finishing first in their group will take on the second-place finisher in the opposite group, with the winners of the semi-finals reaching the gold medal match.

The defeated semi-finalists will face off for the bronze medal.

Matches will be played under normal ICC T20I playing conditions, with the Decision Review System available. In the event of a tie, there will be two super overs per group stage game. In medal games, the number of super overs will be based on the match referee’s call.

A reserve day is in place on August 8 for the medal matches, but there is no such provision for washed-out semi-finals, with the higher-ranked qualifier advancing to the gold medal match.

Group A: Australia, Barbados, India, Pakistan

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

Australia and India are strong favorites to advance from Group A, while England are in red-hot form following their recent series win over South Africa.

The battle for the second semi-final berth in Group B could be the one to watch, with South Africa missing three of their biggest stars in Marizanne Kapp, Dane van Niekerk and Lizelle Lee, while New Zealand have a new coach in a former Australian assistant Ben Sawyer, as they look to end a six-year absence from the business end of major tournaments.

There’s no West Indies in the Commonwealth Games, with the individual Caribbean nations instead vying for the chance to feature. Barbados, captained by Hayley Matthews, are flying the flag at this event. The Caribbean had been due to host a qualifying event to determine the games entrant, but when COVID-19 prevented that from happening Barbados was awarded the spot by virtue of winning the most recent domestic T20 competition in 2019.

Ireland tri-series a great craic for touring Aussies

What is the time difference like?

It’s a mixed bag for Australian fans. The group matches start at either 11am or 6pm local time, which is 8pm or 3am in Victoria, NSW, Tasmania, Queensland and the ACT, 7.30pm or 2.30am in South Australia and the Northern Territory, or 6pm and 1am in Western Australia.

Australia’s matches against India and Pakistan are 11am local starts, while their match against Barbados begins at 6pm.

The semi-finals are both on the same day, August 6, and start at 11am and 6pm local time, but who plays in which slot won’t be announced until after the group matches are done. Fingers crossed Australia gets the early timeslot so fans at home can watch at a decent hour!

The bronze medal play-off begins at 10am local on Sunday, August 7 (7pm AEST) while the gold medal match begins at 5pm local the same day (2am AEST, Monday, August 8).

How can I watch?

Channel Seven holds the exclusive rights for the live coverage, replays and highlights for the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Fans can keep up with the cricket (and Australia’s pursuit of gold in every sport!) across Seven, 7mate and streaming via 7plus.

Alison Mitchell and List Sthalekar will be part of the commentary team for the cricket, while those who prefer radio will be able to listen to SEN, who will broadcast the Seven commentary via their network.

When will the Aussies play?

July 29: Australia v India (11am local, 8pm AEST)

July 31: Australia v Barbados (6pm local, 3am Aug 1 AEST)

August 3: Australia v Pakistan (11am local, 8pm AEST)

Semi-finals: August 6, 11am local (8pm AEST) and 6pm local (3am Aug 7 AEST)

Bronze medal match: August 7, 10am local (7pm AEST)

Gold medal match: August 7, 5pm local (2am Aug 8 AEST)

All matches played at Edgbaston Stadium

What are the Aussies wearing?

Fans will see a new look for the Australian cricket team at the Commonwealth Games, with Meg Lanning’s side to be decked out by the Australian federation’s official uniform supplier Macron.

The kit is predominantly ‘Aussie gold’ (not canary yellow) and, excitingly for fans who remember the men’s ODI heydays, features a yellow helmet! That’s a look not seen on Australia’s women since the turn of the century, and last on the men briefly in March 2020 before the pandemic shut everything down.

Beth Mooney models Australia's Commonwealth Games uniform and helmet // Supplied
Beth Mooney models Australia’s Commonwealth Games uniform and helmet // Commonwealth Games Australia

The Commonwealth Games Australia ‘Unity’ symbol, designed by Indigenous artist Jenna Lee as part of a series of works created for the Gold Coast 2018 Reconciliation Action Plan, has been incorporated into the design in the detailing at the top and bottom of the shirt.

Also noteworthy is the Commonwealth Games Australia badge on the front of the helmet, rather than the usual coat of arms.

Who are the favourites?

Befitting their bulging trophy cabinet, Australia will go in as favorites to win the gold, but second-ranked England will also fancy their chances as they head into the tournament in good form and with the home turf advantage.

Lanning’s team sit eight points clear of England on the ICC’s T20I rankings and have won the past two T20 World Cups in 2018 and 2020.

ICC T20I rankings

1) Australia, 2) England, 3) New Zealand, 4) India, 5) South Africa, 6) West Indies*, 7) Pakistan, 8) Sri Lanka

* West Indies are represented by Barbados at the Commonwealth Games

How are the teams shaping up?

Click here for the full rundown on each squad

GROUP A

Australia

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

How they are tracking: Australia will just be hoping the rain stays away, after having four of their seven T20Is in 2022 so far washed out. The other games they won by margins of nine wickets, nine wickets and 63 runs respectively, so when they do manage to get a result, Meg Lanning’s team have been in form.

Barbados

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

How they are tracking: Barbados need their West Indies stars to step up if they are to advance in this event; fortunately, they have the Windies’ two most devastating T20I players at their disposal in Hayley Matthews and Deandra Dottin.

India

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

How they are tracking: India will start the tournament without Sabbineni Meghana and Pooja Vastrakar, after the pair tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the team’s departure for the United Kingdom. They touched down in Birmingham on Monday, so they have little time to adjust to the conditions compared to rivals Australia and Pakistan.

Pakistan

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.

How they are tracking: Pakistan also lost crucial preparation time during the rain-affected T20I series in Ireland, with three of their four games washed out. They claimed a 12-run win on DLS over Ireland in their completed match.

GROUP B

England

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 .

How they are tracking: England completed a dominant T20I sweep against South Africa on Monday and will go into the Commonwealth Games full of confidence. They have made some bold moves to selection and their batting order, dropping Tammy Beaumont and promoting Sophia Dunkley to opener, while veteran Katherine Brunt has found form at the right time.

New Zealand

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.

How they are tracking: The White Ferns are something of an unknown quantity, having played just one T20I this year, against India in February. They have been acclimatising to the local conditions at Millfield School in Somerset and have a new coach in former Australia assistant Ben Sawyer.

South Africa

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

How they are tracking: After a brilliant 50-over World Cup campaign that stumbled at the semi-final stage, the Proteas did not find the same form during their month-long multi-format series against England. They failed to win any of the six white-ball games and drew the rain-affected Test. Worse yet, they go into the Commonwealth Games with just 14 players, having lost Marizanne Kapp (family reasons), Trisha Chetty (back) and Tumi Sekhukhune (groin) on the eve of the tournament, replaced by Tazmin Brits and Delmi Tucker.

South Africa were already without a star opener Lizelle Lee, who suddenly retired from international cricket mid-way through the England series, while regular captain Dane van Niekerk remains unavailable due to an ankle injury.

Sri Lanka

Squad: Chamari Athapaththu (capt), 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.

How they are tracking: Sri Lanka played T20I series against Pakistan and India in May and June, but in worrying signs for Chamari Athapaththu’s team, they won only one of those matches.

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