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Cricket makes a return to the Commonwealth Games with the women's T20 cricket set to feature in Birmingham's edition of the Games. The last time cricket was played in the Commonwealth Games was way back in 1998 and it was a men's only 50-over tournament.
Two of the world's best teams — India and Australia — will get the ball rolling in the tournament. While Australia is the number one ranked team in the ICC Women's T20I rankings, India is placed fourth.
Australia has proven its dominance in T20 cricket as they have lifted the T20 World Cup trophy an unprecedented five times. However, India is a force to reckon with in T20 cricket as well considering it qualified for the final of the last edition hosted in Australia.
Moreover, a growing crop of Indian women cricketers are now regularly featuring in Australia's Women's Big Bash League, a trend which was kick-started by the Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur.
Since Kaur, the likes of Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Richa Ghosh, Poonam Yadav, Radha Yadav and Shafali Verma have graced the Big Bash League. Except for Poonam, the rest are in Birmingham to represent India in the women's T20 cricket tournament.
Earlier this week Brisbane Heats confirmed the signing of fast emerging star all-rounder Pooja Vastrakar for the upcoming season of the Big Bast league. India will be banking on the experience of these players playing in the league as they aim for a podium finish.
Also Read: Commonwealth Games 2022 - India's women's cricket team face tough challenge from rivals Australia
Australia is heading into the Commonwealth Games on the back of an authoritative win in the women's 50-over World Cup earlier this year. The Australian squad led by Meg Lanning has remained unchanged from the World Cup.
The squad is brimming with match-winners. Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Tahlia McGrath and Alan King have the capacity to change the course of a game in a matter of minutes.
Head-to-head (last five matches)
Australian player to watch out for
The star Aussie batter is the number one ranked batter in T20I cricket. She has been on song recently having scored 206 runs from her previous 10 matches. She averages a stunning 68.67 in those games.
Indian player to watch out for
Harmanpreet Kaur (Image: Reuters)
India's chances to shock Australia depend on how Harmanpreet Kaur bats. If Harmanpreet finds her footing she can punish the Australian bowlers to submission. In the last 10 games for India Harmanpreet has amassed 225 runs at a strike rate of 117.18.
Edgbaston is gearing up for "The Megastar" vs "Harman-Thor" showdown!
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