India’s women reach the Commonwealth Games cricket final

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — India’s women cricketers are within one win of an historic gold medal after defeating host England by four runs in a thrilling Commonwealth Games semi-final on Saturday.

After posting 164-5 in the Twenty20 format, its biggest score in the tournament, India restricted previously unbeaten England to 160-6 at Edgbaston.

It is the first time women’s cricket has been played at the Games and supporters are hopeful that a successful tournament will lead to the sport’s inclusion at future Olympics.

More than 160,000 tickets were sold prior to the semi-final, a new record for a women’s cricket tournament, and another sizeable crowd attended Saturday’s match.

Opener Smriti Mandhana hit 61 in 32 balls to set the tone for India in its innings.

England captain Nat Sciver, who has called for women’s cricket to be included in the Olympics, top-scored with 41 in her team’s reply before being run out with less than two overs remaining.

India captain Harmanpreet Kaur said: “I am really happy. Everyone is coming in and performing for the team. (The fans) were cheering until the last ball. It was a great opportunity for all the players to perform.”

India will play Australia or New Zealand in Sunday’s final. England will meet the loser of that match in a bronze medal playoff.

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