Two cricket spots left for T20 tourney

West Indies' Shakera Selman, left, celebrates after taking the wicket of England's Tammy Beaumont, right, during their Women's T20 World Cup cricket match in Sydney, Sunday, March 1, 2020.
Associated Press/Rick Rycroft, file

A Caribbean country will claim one of the last two spots in the historic Twenty20 tournament when women’s cricket debuts at next year’s edition of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

With West Indies unable to compete as one entity, this year’s Twenty20 Blaze — the Cricket West Indies women’s domestic championship — will determine the country which joins several global powerhouses at the July 28 to Aug. 8 Games.

The ICC said in a statement: “As per qualification process, the winner of a designated Qualifying event will determine which country from the Caribbean region gets to participate as athletes will be representing their individual countries and not the West Indies as they would at ICC events.”

CWI last hosted the T20 Blaze in 2019 when Barbados emerged winners in the tournament staged in Guyana.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic wiped out all domestic women’s cricket in the Caribbean last year and has continued to keep a question mark over the hosting of the T20 Blaze this year.

England, meanwhile has qualified for the eight-team tournament by virtue of being the host, while Australia, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa all booked their spots courtesy of their current standing in the International Cricket Council Women’s T20 International rankings. The ICC said the last spot in the Commonwealth Games tournament would be determined by another qualifying tournament scheduled to be staged before Jan. 31 next year.

The tournament marks only the second time cricket will be played at the Commonwealth Games, the last occasion being 23 years ago when a men’s 50-overs tournament was played at the multi-discipline showpiece held in Malaysia.

Antigua, Jamaica and Barbados represented the Caribbean but one reached the knockout stage.

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