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Commonwealth Games 2022, Cricket Wrap: India repeat past mistakes to throw away golden opportunity

Women's cricket had a successful debut at the Commonwealth Games, but India repeated their mistakes from the 2017 World Cup. From being in the driver's seat, India collapsed and settled for silver as Australia clinched gold medal in their maiden appearance.

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Australia (gold), India (silver) and New Zealand (bronze) pose together at the podium
Australia (gold), India (silver) and New Zealand (bronze) pose together at the podium. (AP Photo)

In Short

  • India have not learned from their past mistakes as they threw away the final
  • India found a new bankable pacer in Renuka Singh, who took most wickets (11)
  • India suffered their third final defeat against Australia after 2005 and 2020 ICC events

By Priya Nagi: If there is one team which can push the mighty Australia, it is India. Harmanpreet Kaur's team pushed Meg Lanning-led side with its terrific fielding, stunning run outs and a blinder. But when it came to creating the 1983 World Cup-esque moment for women's cricket in India, India collapsed.

India lost five wickets for 13 runs and subsequently fell nine runs short of rewriting their history. The difference was exactly the same five years ago, when Mithali Raj's team lost the 50-over World Cup 2017 to England by nine runs.

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Back to the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the ghost of the past got the better of India in spite of being in the driver's seat at one point when captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues were hammering the Australian bowlers at will. However, Australia, who have been part of several successful World Cup finals, used all their experience and turned the match in their favour to complete the treble, having won the T20 World Cup 2020 and the 50-over World Cup 2022.

INDIA IN GROUP STAGE

India opened their Commonwealth Games against Australia in the curtain raiser of the tournament. India, who had a history of dominating Australia in the group stage, lost the plot after reducing Australia to 49/5 thanks to Renuka Singh Thakur. Just when it seemed India would upset Australia, Ash Gardner reaffirmed the Australian depth with her unbeaten fifty as she took her side home with a three-wicket win and an over to spare. India bounced back in the next two fixtures but were not really challenged by arch-rivals Pakistan and Barbados and India sealed their last-four berth.

INDIA IN SEMI-FINAL

In a rematch of the 2018 and 2020 T20 World Cup semi-finals, India clashed with hosts England for a spot in the final. Smriti Mandhana played a match-winning knock of 61 off 32 before Jemimah Rodrigues lifted India to a competitive total. During the match, Mandhana bettered her record by one ball as she hit a 23-ball fifty. Heather Knight-less England remained on the backfoot for most of the match due to a couple of run outs. England captain Natalie Sciver tried to overcome the creeping run rate but after her run out England were eliminated to the bronze medal match, where they were stunned by New Zealand.

Although the history repeated for India, the team found a new bankable pacer in Renuka Singh Thakur. She finished as the top wicket-taker in the tournament with 11 wickets in five matches. Overall, it was a success for women's cricket, which featured in the multi-format event for the first time, as players enjoyed playing in front of big crowd and had a first-hand experience of receiving medals at the podium and being part of their nation's parades at the ceremony.