Australia beat India by nine runs to claim the Commonwealth Games women’s T20 cricket gold medal on Sunday, but the real winner was the sport, which delivered compelling competition and boosted its case to be included in the Olympics. A part of the Commonwealth Games program for the first time, women’s cricket was one of the most sought-after tickets in Birmingham particularly for Sunday’s absorbing final between top-ranked Australia and cricket-mad India. 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 Ashleigh Gardner taking 3-16 and Megan Schutt 2-27. There could not have been a better advertisement for what cricket can bring to a multisport event than the sensational display put on at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. With over 160,000 tickets sold, cricket was one of the Games’ best-attended sports and certainly among the most fun as Birmingham, one of Britain’s most diverse cities, turned out in force to support their teams. Cricket’s Games future is unsettled although the women’s T20 is almost certain to be included on the 2026 program when they are staged in Victoria, Australia. Hamilton, the Canadian city that hosted the first Games in 1930 and is bidding to stage them again 2030 for the 100th anniversary, already has cricket pencilled in on its program.
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