Well, that concludes women’s cricket’s first outing – and cricket’s return after 1998 – in the Commonwealth Games. Do keep an eye for stories from the tournament. Shashank Kishore’s report is in here. Hope you enjoyed ESPNcricinfo’s coverage as much as we did in bringing it all to you. Thanks for joining us! This is Sudarshanan signing off on behalf of Alan and Vairavan. Hello aficionados!
8:32pm The medal ceremony is about to begin. Australia, India and New Zealand take their positions near the podium – a reminder that New Zealand downed England earlier today to ensure a podium finish.
New Zealand get on the podium first as the bronze medals are presented to each of the players – in alphabetical order of their second names with the captain at the very end. Despite being beaten by England in their last league game, they fought hard in the semi-final against Australia to go down narrowly. Within 12 hours or so, they were on the field today for the bronze medal match, where they gave England a taste of their own medicine.
A loud cheer at the Edgbaston as India get on the podium as silver medalists. It was another tournament of what-if but take nothing away from this young bunch. Their campaign began with a narrow loss against Australia before notching up three straight wins – including one over England for their first knockout win. On the big day, it was their thin batting, perhaps, that came back to haunt them with a collapse. But they can have their heads high with their spirited show in Birmingham. The wait for a world title carries on…
A replica of Perry, the official mascot of Birmingham Commonwealth Games, is also presented to each of the players after the medals.
And now for the moment of the night.
They were the favorites that walked the talks two years ago during the T20 World Cup at home. And they were touted to win the top honors in this inaugural edition of the Commonwealth Games and they delivered. Australia now get on the podium as the gold medals are presented to each of the players. Yes, it is their cricket system that is to be credited. But not before each of the players who have been at it and dominating for years now. The leader of the pack Meg Lanning has time and again captained remarkably well and – probably worth a mention – that it is not at the cost of her form. They find ways to find from any situation and they finish (yet) another tournament without losing a match. Not that they were not challenged; they found match-winners each time and can well hold their heads high.
8:15pm Back to the game. India were cruising. Harmanpreet and Rodrigues had frozen and almost built a house in the middle during their 96-run stand. Australia searching for answers and they couldn’t find many. All that the Indin duo could see was gaps and that too at will. But then came Schutt – how many times have we witnessed her deliver in crunch moments? She cleaned up Rodrigues to begin a procession. And at the midst of it all was a certain Gardner, who only dished out wicket-taking balls.
You give an inch to Australia and they grab a mile. From a comfortable 2 for 118, India lost their last 8 wickets for just 34 runs and there’s no comeback when that happens. Add to it the fact that Jonassen bowling the last over is safe as houses. Superb win for Australia and they yet again – not that they needed to – assert who the undisputed champions in women’s cricket are. They were the favourites, they embraced it and went the distance with the eyes of the world on them.
Samyak: “Accept that indian women team do not have proper batter besides top four. How many 4s or 6s do the last seven batters have scored in last 15-20 matches. They need better supporting staffs as well.”
Ram: “This might be the closest India have come to a historic moment for women’s cricket. Today was very unfortunate, but I believe that this is the team with the best chance of knowing the Australians off their perch.”
Sukrit: “These Indian women have come a long way. They have now been consistently knocking on the door in the tournament finals over the last 5-6 years. That day is not far away when they are going to knock that door down and break the Aussie-English monopoly over women’s tournament wins”
8:11pm Australia continues their title-winning juggernaut and now they have a Commonwealth Games gold medal in their cabinets. Talk about fightbacks and comebacks, this Australia has done it – not once, twice but numerous times. The smiles and the jump in the huddle says it all. Meg Lanning is beaming and why wouldn’t she. She has been the leader of this pace for a long, long time – undisputed if I may add.
Avinash: “Just proud of the indian women team…constantly giving a good fight to the best team in the world…Hope they do cross the line soon :)”
Aamir: “How many times we will see Australia’s men and women teams pulling out such thrillers in big tournaments and win matches like this. Clearly shows that how mentally strong their teams are. Well done.”
Both teams don’t shake hands but have fish bumps from a distance due to the Covid-19 case. And the first thing Lanning does after meeting the support staff is hug head coach Shelley Nitschke. Rewriting record books one tournament at a time is this Australian bunch – which should be a subject of envy of many.