The first matches for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games have been announced, as the organisers of the Games have revealed the schedules for the women’s cricket T20 and for the netball competition at the event.
The women’s cricket T20 competition will be held at the Edgbaston Stadium from the 29 July, with the bronze and gold medal matches taking place on 7 August. The first match on the schedule will see Australia take on India in the early session, with Pakistan playing Barbados, who were recently confirmed as the team from the West Indies that will take part in the Commonwealth Games.
The host nation team for the Games, Team England, will be in action for the first time on 30 July, when they will take on the winner of a qualifying tournament which is due to take place at the start of 2022. They will then play South Africa in the early session on 2 August, followed by a third match against New Zealand in the evening session on Thursday 4 August.
Other highlights on the schedule include India against Pakistan on 31 July and Australia will also take on Pakistan on 3 August.
7 out of 8 qualifiers for the cricket T20 competition were announced back in April with the final team set to be finalised at the end of January 2022.
Last month the first six qualifiers for the netball competition, which will be held at the NEC Arena, were announced, with the final six set to be confirmed early in 2022.
The netball matches will also begin on Friday 29 July, one day after the opening ceremony for the Games, the largest multi-sport event to be held in the UK for a decade and the biggest ever event to be held in the West Midlands region.
Team England, the reigning Commonwealth Champions, and the host team for the tournament, will be first on court in the early session on 29 July, taking on one of the sides that will be announced next year. The following day they will play Malawi and they will also have games on the 1 August and 2 August, with their final group match set to be a showdown with New Zealand on 4 August.
Other netball matches that have been revealed so far include Jamaica against South Africa in the evening session on 30 July, Australia against South Africa in the morning session on 1 August and New Zealand against Malawi in the evening session of the same day. Australia against Jamaica will be the match in the morning session on 4 August – the first of three netball sessions to be held on that day.
The announcement of the match schedules for the two team sports comes just a few weeks before tickets for Birmingham 2022 are expected to go on general sale. Matt Kidson, Director of Sport for Birmingham 2022, said: “Not surprisingly we have already sold thousands of tickets for both the netball and cricket T20 sessions through our ticket ballots, but we know that some fans have been waiting to find out the details of the match schedules before choosing which sessions they want to attend, so we’re expecting these sports to sell quickly, when ticket sales go live.
“If there are netball and cricket fans who haven’t yet set up their ticketing account, then now would be a great time to do so, as tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis, once the general sale begins.”
Birmingham 2022 will be the first time that cricket T20 has been included in the Games and it is also the first time that women’s cricket has been on the sports programme at any Commonwealth Games, with men’s 50 overs cricket included in the 1998 edition which was held in Kuala Lumpur.
Team England are the defending champions in netball and Ama Agbeze, who is now a Birmingham 2022 board member, was captain of the team when they won gold in dramatic circumstances on the Gold Coast. Ama said: “The gold medal match at Gold Coast 2018 was one of the greatest experiences of my life and we can expect more drama at Birmingham 2022. It has been a tough couple of years with many international netball matches having to be postponed or cancelled, so I know that all of the teams will be looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and a chance to renew their rivalry.
“With the final of both of netball and women’s cricket T20 being staged on Sunday 7 August and with the women’s hockey tournament medal matches on that day too, it will truly be a super Sunday for women’s team sport and I can’t wait to witness it.”
Commonwealth Games Federation Sport Director Ann-Louise Morgan said: “It is a special milestone to be unveiling the first matches for Birmingham 2022.
“There is no doubt that the cricket T20 and netball competitions will showcase the very best of Commonwealth Sport as well as women’s sport.
“We have been delighted to see such huge interest in tickets for both of these sports, but we are pleased that there are still opportunities for cricket and netball fans to attend the Games in person.
“Now is the time to ensure you set up a Birmingham 2022 ticketing account ahead of general sale in the coming weeks.”
ICC Acting Chief Executive Geoff Allardice said: “We have seen tremendous growth of the women’s game over the past few years and the Commonwealth Games will undoubtedly be another major moment on that journey.
“Today’s announcement of the match schedule gives fans lots to look forward to, not least with the opening game between ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 finalists Australia and India and we know that Edgbaston will provide a great stage for the competition.
“On behalf of the ICC and our Members, I would like to thank the Commonwealth Games Federation for all the support and look forward to some exciting cricket in Birmingham 2022.”
World Netball President, Liz Nicholl CBE said: “With the hosts England confirmed to be part of the opening match at this very special multi-sport event, the athletes and their supporters will await with excitement the announcement of the remaining six qualifiers for Birmingham 2022, to see who the hosts will face. World Netball will continue to work with the Commonwealth Games Federation, Commonwealth Games Associations and Birmingham 2022 on the announcement of the remaining teams.
“Thank you to all our Netball Family who have already purchased tickets to support our athletes and their nations in Birmingham, I look forward to joining you all at the NEC Arena for what is sure to be an exciting event to showcase our sport as we continue to grow, to play and to inspire.”
The final six netball teams that will compete at Birmingham 2022 and the final qualifier for the women’s cricket T20 tournament will be confirmed at the end of January 2022.