T20 WORLD CUP: England Exit Harsh… But Fair

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.

11 thoughts on “T20 WORLD CUP: England Exit Harsh… But Fair

  1. Irony : For years women have been valiantly and rightly fighting to break through the glass ceiling in all walks of life including sport …… but this was one scenario where we really could have done with one !

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  2. I agree, but wish this’d been clearer at the time of those opening matches.

    In a tournament with a group stage, not just knock-out matches all the way, it naïvely seems like it should be possible to lose one match and still make it through to the next stage.

    I don’t remember any reporting or analysis of Australia’s and England’s initial losses pointing out they could now be reliant on co-operative weather to make it through.

    So I feel swizzed not because England isn’t in the final, and not because the semi-final has been rained off, but because of the false hope since that opening loss.

    A tournament where losing the first group-stage match is critical (and then what happens in the rest of the group stage is irrelevant) doesn’t seem a great format. But what’s worse as a follower is not being aware that _was_ the format.

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    • The group stages didn’t really go as many expected though. I think England thought that they would probably still win the group even after losing the opening match. I wouldn’t have bet on SA winning every match or WI being quite as bad as they were. Traditionally, any side CAN lose a match and still get through to the semis and final. That’s certainly happened a lot in the past. It’s just that on this occasion, some of the up and coming sides like SA and India performed better than expected. This also filtered through into some of the less fancied teams like Pakistan, Sri Lanka and even Thailand looking better than they might have. So much for Australia running away with women’s cricket (irrespective of what may happen in the final). I never put a huge amount of stock into that theory anyway.

      A few timing aspects just went wrong for England. They had the toughest group match first, before they’d really got into things, after a bit of a blip at the end of the Tri-Series and in the warm-ups. And then had the wrong end of some weather that would have allowed play just a few hours later, as we saw. They did their best and certainly didn’t let themselves down.

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  3. Amazing how hard the Aussie ground staff will work to get their game on, and no doubt SA will fold under a ludicrous DL target….shame for SA as they got more points than AUS

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  4. Looks as though the big winner from this rule will be Aus: England out, and Aus look like taking SA out.

    Gives the marketing guys their dream final: Aus (bums on seats) versus Ind (TV audience).

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  5. The decision was absolutely right for the tournament, this was the rule that every team signed up to at the start and you can’t change it just because you don’t like it (although I suspect if India’s mens team are in a similar situation later in the year, there may well be a sudden reversal!).

    The problem is the rule itself is utterly ludicrous. Having washouts for group games is not ideal but understandable given the scheduling (Steve Rhodes may disagree) but for a knockout tournament a reserve day is imperative. What makes it even worse is that Australia has an indoor stadium, had the semis been in Melbourne rather than Sydney, these games could have been moved to the Docklands.

    I realise there are logistical issues with television, fans, equipment, venue employees and volunteers and press but sometimes these concerns need to be put aside. It’s not a long tournament, an extra day could have been accommodated and while mid to long range weather forecasting can be inaccurate, an extra day may give the boards a chance to move to another part of the country where the games can be played.

    Heather Knight has been very diplomatic about the whole thing but she and the rest of the team must be absolutely gutted about the whole situation. It’s one thing to get beaten on the field, it’s entirely another to go out when it isn’t your fault.

    On a positive note, Australia and India should be good for the MCG. Had Australia not gone through, there would have been a lot of people who bought tickets and wouldn’t have gone, now they might get their sellout even if one superstar Perry won’t be performing.

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  6. I hear the word ‘fair’ being used a lot – but ‘fair’ in relation to what ?

    I would argue that for something to be ‘fair’, each party has equal opportunity.

    England did have the same and equal opportunity to beat South Africa as South Africa had to beat England.

    England did not have equal opportunity to come first compared to South Africa because for this to happen England and South Africa would have had to play the same teams – but they didn’t (SA did not play WI).

    England has clearly not had equal opportunity, compared to Australia, to reach the final, therefore it is not fair – two teams in an identical situation have not been treated the same. This is where, in relation to fairness, the “well you should have topped your group” argument falls down and also what good did topping the group do South Africa, who have been treated unfairly with respect to India – both topped their group but one was forced to play a semi-final, the other was not, therefore each did not have equal opportunity to make the final

    So England have not been treated fairly with respect to Australia – it proceeds from this that the rules (which prevented England playing but allowed Australia to play) were not fair (however the rules, for good or bad, have been followed).

    However …… we have to accept that the rules of the competition could create unfairness and that it is more or less impossible to have fair (equal opportunity) rules when it comes to cricket and weather – unless the rules states ‘play in whatever weather’.

    From a PR point of view for cricket, this is a disaster. Its hardly an incentive to travel half way around the planet to support ones team. Start buying your tickets now for the women’s rugby world cup in NZ in 2021 – guaranteed cold, wind and rain but the game still goes on.

    In summary, unfairness is inherent in the rules, teams will be treated unfairly compared to others but until cricket solves the problem of the weather, we’re stuck with it.

    Spare a thought for Thailand as well. The weather didn’t allow them a fair crack at beating Pakistan (whereas others had a fair crack at it)

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  7. I was a bit surprised having studied the forecast earlier ,that the second SF got as much play as it did. They played through some pretty heavy drizzle at times. Aus did just enough, but SA didn’t take advantage of their reduced target early enough. They missed out on quite a few runs early in the innings.

    But SA have had a very good tournament. Wolvaardt was brilliant today and I think her career could really take off after this. Impressed by De Klerk too. Australia bowled well though. I still have the feeling that the final step in order to really “make it” and be up there with the top sides, for SA, is beating Australia. In truth, not having Kapp (whereas they had Kapp against England and she did well) was a big loss, and you can say that a Kapp-less SA are still not quite a match for a Perry-less Aus.

    Shame to see some of the typical, predictably bitter comments after the wash-out from some quarters. England going out by default was somehow “karma” for the men’s side winning the ODI WC final by zero runs, apparently. Yeah, work that one out.

    I hope India can put on a good show and remain nice and competitive in the final. It has the real potential to be a great contest.

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  8. It’s a shame for any team to go out this way, not withstanding the fact that Syd is quite right – the playing regulations were signed off by every Board.

    The only thing i would add is that the people who suffer most are the players. Yes, England could have avoided this had they beaten SA and won the group, but that misses the point that SOMEBODY had to be in this position.

    For one country or another there would be a few players playing their last World Tournament, powerlessly watching it disappear down a drain from a dressing room window. Equally players there for the first time – who knows, possibly the only time – and this is how it ends.

    Heather Knight was quoted this afterwards…

    “As players, we don’t know anything about the reserve days – it’s up to the boards and those way above our pay grade to sort those out.”

    Obviously she’s only speaking for England and the ECB, but I suspect it’s much the same for other countries.

    That must change. If Boards can’t be bothered to read the small print and foresee the perfectly foreseeable then at the very least the coach and the captain need to have the opportunity for input. What player would sign off on this rule if it was put to them?

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  9. Great shame, especially for the younger, “newbies” in the squad!
    But the boards signed up for it so any blame (if there is any) lies with them.
    Heather Knight spoke very eloquently, obviously disappointed but very adamant that the rules were in place at the start, so no comeback.
    Future looks rosy!

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