A women’s T20 tournament will be played at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. In 1998 – the only other time cricket has been part of the Games – the SA men struck gold.
The Commonwealth Games included cricket for the first time in 1998, with 16 men’s teams taking part in a 50-over tournament.
The West Indies competed as separate nations, India and Pakistan sent weakened teams, while England were not represented at all as the Games clashed with the County Championship.
The three nations that did select strong squads – South Africa, Australia and New Zealand – would finish on the podium. With big-name Proteas like Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock, Mark Boucher and Makhaya Ntini in their ranks, South Africa cruised through the group stage with wins over Northern Ireland, Bangladesh and Barbados.
However, they needed a heroic last-wicket stand between Nicky Boje and Alan Dawson to win their semi-final against Sri Lanka, who were bowled out for 130 in 44 overs. That looked to be enough when South Africa slumped to 96-9 in the 36th over, but Boje and Dawson nervelessly chipped away at the target, which they reached with three overs remaining.
In the final, captain Steve Waugh scored an unbeaten 90 as Australia were bowled out for 183, with Pollock taking 4-19. Mike Rindel (67) and Kallis (44) then put together a crucial third-wicket partnership of 72 as South Africa celebrated a six-wicket win with four overs to spare.
Cricket would not be played again at the Commonwealth Games until 2022 when a women’s T20 tournament was included.