How Katy Perry helped women's T20 World Cup final outstrip the men

Katy Perry (pictured middle) sings during the T20 World Cup final.
The women's T20 World Cup final had a bigger crowd at the MCG than the men's final, which was helped with a Katy Perry (pictured middle) performance and the host nation reaching the showdown. (Getty Images)

Mischievous, misleading or on the money?

Former Australia cricket captain Lisa Sthalekar has cheekily thrown a bit of chin music the way of the men's game by suggesting women's cricket may have overtaken the males in popularity – at least when it comes to T20 internationals.

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As Exhibit A, she pointed out Sunday night's attendance at the MCG for the T20 World Cup final between England and Pakistan failed to beat the turnout for the female version – Australia v India – at the same venue in 2020.

Sthalekar tweeted photos of the MCG scoreboard showing the crowd figure for both games.

Her tweet was accompanied by the following message: "Same venue, same tournament @T20WorldCup, the difference is the teams playing. 86174 = Aus vs Ind 80462 = Eng vs Pak. Who would have thought womens cricket would have gotten more people #justsaying."

The provocative post was predictably met with considerable backlash, with many quick to point out the differences between the two matches.

The main arguments against Sthalekar's claim were:

  • The host nation wasn't playing in the men's decider

  • Giant crowd puller India also failed to make it

  • The weather forecast for Sunday night was unfavourable

  • Ticket prices for the men's final were considerably higher than the women's

  • A Katy Perry concert was part of the women's ticket deal

  • There was a public holiday in Victoria the day after the women's final

Sthalekar later admitted there were mitigating circumstances around the two attendance figures but pointed out her original comments were meant as a celebration of how far the women's game has come and how it can continue to grow.

The respected commentator wrote in a follow-up post: "Thanks for your great feedback. The point was to squash the old argument, that ppl don’t want to watch womens (cricket). Pulling the right levers, i.e., ticket $, luck of the draw (home side vs India), entertainment around the event all help & weather do play a part but anything is possible."

The International Cricket Council was hoping for a sell-out for Sunday night's final.

But they still would have been delighted to have the MCG near capacity considering neither Australia nor India were in the decider and the weather was threatening.

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