If the World Cup is a gauge, women's cricket has reached a critical mass of support that could see the sport contend for Olympic inclusion.

England's nine-run victory over India with eight balls to spare in the final brought a thrilling denouement to a tournament, which had been a catalyst towards enhancing the future role of women in the sport.

A record crowd of more than 26,500 attended Lord's, a figure matched by an estimated 50 million television viewers for pool matches, 32 million page views on the International Cricket Council website and app, and 75 million views of ICC pool match videos.

Ticket buyers were split 50:50 on gender and 31 percent of patrons were under 16-years-old.


Overall, global viewership was 80 percent higher than the figures from 2013.

The results reflected the increased tempo of the women's game in recent years, as Twenty20 leagues mushroom around the world.

Fifteen innings passed the 250-run mark, compared to eight from four years ago and 11 players from seven teams averaged over 50, compared with six in 2013.

That might be unwelcome news for bowlers, but England medium-pacer Anya Shrubsole offered balance. She delivered the best figures of six wickets for 46 runs in a World Cup final, including four from her last 13 balls.

The tournament has bolstered the ICC's plans to get T20 cricket included on the 2024 Olympic programme.

A decision on lobbying must be made by the end of the month. An application needs to be presented by September.

The likely format would be eight men's and women's teams, split into groups of four, with the top two sides in each group progressing to semifinals.

The International Olympic Committee makes the final call.


Cricket has been in the Olympics once - at Paris in 1900 - the same venue expected to host in 2024. The Devon and Somerset Wanderers won gold on behalf of Britain, with the French Athletic Club Union (mainly comprised of British expatriates) taking silver after a two-day match.

Another ICC focus will be how the 2021 World Cup, due to be hosted by New Zealand, is structured.

The White Ferns exited the World Cup for the first time in 11 editions without making the top four, yet the country will have a crucial role ensuring momentum continues in the women's game.

Increased marketability will presumably require a move away from basing the tournament solely at Christchurch and Lincoln, as was the case when New Zealand last hosted - and won - in 2000. The template for the 2015 men's World Cup or perhaps this summer's under-19 World Cup could be handy.

An onus will also go on debriefing the White Ferns' 2017 World Cup performance to provide accountability for what is now a significant income stream. Fifteen women are now awarded annual contracts, ranging from $20,000 to $34,000 with match fees - $400 for ODIs and $300 for T20Is - and an annual $2500 superannuation payment.

In the immediate aftermath of their exit, captain Suzie Bates said this was a logical move.

"After any World Cup, there will be reviews as to how the team performed. We knew it would be tough to get to the semifinals - that was the biggest hurdle.

"We haven't reached the expectations we had as a team.

"We haven't been able to perform in the biggest matches. We've worked on it as a group, but there's talking about it and there's actually doing it."

Coach Haidee Tiffen lamented only showing "glimpses" of how they wanted to play.

"We can't sugarcoat the fact it was really disappointing.

"It hasn't been consistent enough. We've got an experienced top order that didn't deliver when it counted and that's something we need to look at in pressure games.

"I said to the team that this performance [the 186-run loss to India] doesn't define us, but it will be a defining moment of how we react and where we go from here.

"There will be a thorough review of this campaign."