England were knocked out of the T20 World Cup at the semi-final stage, courtesy of the torrential rain which lashed Sydney all day, causing their match with India to be abandoned without a ball bowled. India, as group winners, therefore progress to the final.
There has been much talk about the unfairness of this system… and there will be even more if Australia exit the competition in the same manner later this evening. But the tournament Playing Conditions dictate that only the final should have a reserve day, and belated pleas from Cricket Australia for a last-minute change in the rules fell on deaf ears at the ICC.
And rightly so!
CRICKETher is the first to criticise the boards when they get stuff wrong, and it has earned us the ire of the ECB, Cricket Australia, the BCCI and the ICC themselves at times; but this time they didn’t get it wrong – they got it absolutely right.
One wonders whether the pleas of Cricket Australia would have been anything like as loud if they had been the ones in pole position at this stage?
Because the simple fact is that England and Australia were only in this situation because they lost their opening matches. If England had beaten South Africa, they’d have topped the group and would now being doing rain-dances in their hotel ahead of a semi with Australia. Ditto Australia, who lost to India on opening day.
England (and Australia, if that transpires) might not have lost this game “on the pitch” at the SCG, but they did lose it on a pitch – in England’s case, the one at the WACA in Perth.
As Heather Knight admitted when confronted with the weather forecast yesterday:
“It’s our own fault for losing that game against South Africa,” she said. “We didn’t top our group and only have ourselves to blame.”
Nor were the regulations “sexist” as some have suggested: the last men’s World Twenty20, in India in 2016, had exactly the same regulations.
The rules may be harsh – rules often are on those who fall the wrong side of them – but they were fair, and India deservedly go on to the final at the MCG on Sunday.