PREVIEW | 2022 Commonwealth Games Cricket Semi-Finals

IT HAS reached the pointy end of the first ever 2022 Commonwealth Games cricket competition, with four teams left in the running to win the inaugural Gold Medal.

Australia, England, India and New Zealand are the four teams left in the tournament, and although it is no real surprise they are the four that are left, some of the form that some of the teams have shown this tournament may mean the knockout stage does not play out like fans expect it will.

There will be two semi-finals. Australia will play New Zealand, while England will take on India. The winner of those will then battle for Gold, while the losers will battle for Bronze.

Going into the semi-finals, the favourites for Gold are arguably Australia and England, but even then the Aussies have proven in the tournament they are not invincible.

On more than one occasion this tournament, the Aussies have had a shaky start to the innings with the bat, which does prove a vulnerability, but at the same time they’ve also proven their ability to get out of those tricky situations, thanks largely to the likes of Ash Gardner, Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath and Grace Harris. Meanwhile with the ball, it has been the spinners who have really shone this tournament, with Jess Jonassen and Alana King proving to be able to rip through opposition line ups.

The English have been just as scintillating in this tournament as the home side, but in a positive note for their chances they have not had the batting wobbles the Aussies have had. Alice Capsey has been quite the revelation for the English with the bat this tournament. Despite only making her international debut just prior to the Games starting, the 17 year old has already proven she belongs at the top level, outscoring her more experienced team mates on a number of occasions. With the ball, the experienced heads in the English attack of Katherine Brunt, Natalie Sciver and Sophie Ecclestone have proven once again why they are among the most feared in the world.

For India, if they want to have any hope of conquering the English in the semi, they are going to have to be a lot tighter with their bowling. They comfortably took care of Pakistan and Barbados in the group stage, but really let the game against Australia get away from them, and realistically it is a game they should have won.

They certainly have a talent with which to conquer. If Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Harmanpreet Kaur and Jemimah Rodrigues can all fire with the bat, they can put an impressive tally on the board. Looking at their bowlers, Renuka Singh Thakur has been a revelation this tournament, and is a proven wicket taker against the top sides.

The New Zealanders have certainly proven a few doubters wrong this tournament and proven why they are one of the top teams in the world. Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine have been stellar at the top of the order for the White Ferns, and once they get going they can be hard to stop so the Aussies will be looking to ensure that partnership is broken quickly.

Looking across to their bowlers, it has been their lesser known faces that have really stood up this tournament, including the likes of Hayley Jensen and Eden Carson, plus Devine and Amelia Kerr have also been very handy with the ball.

The problem for the New Zealanders is that they absolutely crumbled against the English in their pool, so if that kind of performance happens again they can kiss their hopes of a medal goodbye.

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