Though in a bit of a transitional phase off the field after losing head coach Matthew Mott to the England men's white-ball set-up, Australia retain an imposing squad, which has made them world-beaters for years. Two T20 World Cup titles, two Ashes series victories, and an ODI World Cup crown in the past four years, and you can bet they are hell-bent on adding the inaugural women's Commonwealth Games gold medal to that trophy cabinet. Their depth is breath-taking, as illustrated by the fact that a player of Ellyse Perry's calibre has for some time now been outside their first-choice T20I side.
Meg Lanning (capt), Rachael Haynes, Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Amanda-Jade Wellington
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Rain-affected T20s during the Ashes series at the start of the year and more recently against Ireland and Pakistan don't provide the best gauge, but Australia were most convincing in the matches that were completed. Their run to the T20 World Cup title two-and-a-half years ago wasn't quite as rampant as their ODI triumph at the start of this year, but they're favourites for very good reason.
Tahlia McGrath stunned England with 91 not out, batting for just the third time in T20Is during their Ashes series opener. It was one of those moments when England thought they had done pretty well reaching 169 for 4 only to discover Australia had yet another trick up their sleeves and McGrath led them to a thumping nine-wicket victory. She has batted four times in the format now and been named Player of the Match in each one, most recently for her 70 off 45 balls against Ireland last week. She shared a record third-wicket stand for Australia of 135 with Meg Lanning and finally has a T20 batting average - 247.00 - after being dismissed in that match.
Barbados will be making their international debut at the Commonwealth Games, as the representative country for the West Indian islands. As a multi-nation team is unable to compete at the Games, CWI intended to use the 2021 T20 Blaze as a qualification tournament to decide which nation would compete on their behalf. When the tournament was cancelled because of Covid-19, Barbados were chosen, having won the most recent competition in 2019.
Hayley Matthews* (capt), Aaliyah Alleyne*, Shanika Bruce, Shai Carrington, Shaunte Carrington, Shamilia Connell*, Deandra Dottin*, Keila Elliott, Trishan Holder, Kycia Knight*, Kyshona Knight*, Alisa Scantlebury, Shakera Selman*, Tiffany Thorpe, Aaliyah Williams
Domestic T20s (most recent first): LWWWW
Barbados have had a strong domestic season, lifting the Super50 Cup unbeaten, while they narrowly missed out on the 2022 T20 Blaze title to Jamaica on net run-rate. Matthews topped the run charts in both tournaments, while medium-pace bowler Shanika Bruce was the leading wicket-taker in the Blaze.
It's hard to look past Deandra Dottin. She was the first woman to score a T20I century, she has the best T20 bowling figures for West Indies - 5 for 5 against Bangladesh at the 2018 T20 World Cup - and to top it off, she's one of the standout fielders in the game. A natural athlete, in an alternate timeline, Dottin could have been at these games competing in another discipline - she was a junior Caribbean champion in the shot put, discus and javelin. Instead, Barbados will be grateful for her explosive presence at the top of their batting order and her readiness to put her hand up to bowl the big overs when the pressure is on. If Barbados are to spring a surprise at Birmingham 2022, Dottin's ability to change a game single-handedly will be key.
The towering presence of two legends - Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami - may no longer be there, but the shadow of Covid-19 is clearly still there. India are effectively a squad of 13 at the moment, and it is likely to remain that way at least for the first two group games.
Harmanpreet Kaur (capt), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, S. Meghana, Taniya Sapna Bhatia, Yastika Bhatia, Deepti Sharma, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar, Meghna Singh, Renuka Thakur, Jemimah Rodrigues, Radha Yadav, Harleen Deol, Sneh Rana Standbys: Richa Ghosh, Poonam Yadav, Simran Dil Bahadur
India are coming off a successful tour of Sri Lanka, where they won the ODIs (3-0) and T20Is (2-1). Rodrigues returning to form in the T20Is after a rough year - she had been dropped from the World Cup squad - was a positive, as was the transformation of Shafali Verma, who is showing signs of being more than just a feared ball-striker; she is on the way to becoming an all-round batter who can temper her game based on the conditions and the team's needs.
Yastika Bhatia has emerged as a vital piece in the team's jigsaw. Her ability to hit big wasn't in doubt, but lately, she has learnt to marry that with consistency. Her presence could take some pressure off Harmanpreet in the middle order. Yastika has also been groomed as a wicketkeeper, which also gives the flexibility of playing an extra batter or bowler based on conditions.
Pakistan do not have a good history at major tournaments and have only won three out of 30 50-over World Cup matches [including a losing streak of 18 games] and seven out of 28 T20 World Cup games. They will hope the Commonwealth Games starts changing that. Theirs is a tough group, which includes Australia and India, a match that is set to be a sellout and could also play a major role in whether they advance to the knockouts. With Australia's dominance in the women's game, the Pakistan vs India match could effectively be a quarter-final, and history is not on Pakistan's side. They have only won two out of the 11 matches they have played against India and none of the last nine. Bismah Mahroof's baby daughter Fatima and her mother have been allowed to stay in the athlete's village so expect more cuteness as the tournament plays out.
Bismah Maroof (capt), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Gul Feroza, Iram Javed, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Tuba Hassan
Proud moment for @maroof_bismah and women's cricket!— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) July 27, 2022
The captain will carry the national flag along with @InamTheWrestler at the opening ceremony of the XXII Commonwealth Games
Good luck to the Pakistan contingent #CommonwealthGames2022 pic.twitter.com/iZWfFfoDn6
Pakistan beat Sri Lanka 3-0 in a T20I series in Karachi in May before rain severely affected their triangular series against Ireland and Australia. Their two matches ended up being washed out and Pakistan were 56 for 6 in one and had scored 94 for 8 while Australia were 28 without loss in reply in the other, and the only result they recorded was over Ireland in a match reduced to 14 overs a side.
Legspinner Tuba Hassan made her debut in the Sri Lanka series and was Pakistan's leading bowler with five wickets in the series at 8.80. That earned her the ICC's Player-of-the-Month award in May. She was also recently centrally contracted by the PCB and has a lively social media presence.