The continuous downpour in the Sydney Cricket Stadium on 5th March has stood by the side of India Women and directly reserved their slot in the Finals of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. The most awaited face-off between India Women and England got abandoned thereby turning the Semi-finals in the favor of India without actually playing the match. England has always stood in Team India’s way to reach the finals in each of the last two events, in London, 2017 and Antigua, 2018 but 2020 is proved lucky for team India as they finally reached the Finals of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
This non-match will be filed directly under the “rain farce” category of the Cricket World Cup history. Captain Harmanpreet Kaur and Heather Knight eventually shook hands at 16:10 local time, about 20 minutes before the cut-off time for the toss with the rain showing no signs of relenting.
You all may be wondering how India qualified for the finals despite the abandonment of Semi-finals? Then let us explain to you that according to the rules of ICCI if there is any uncertainty during the scheduled matches then the team who had won all the matches in their respective groups will directly enter the Finals leaving behind the rival team. By virtue of their higher finish in the group stages. India won all four games to top Group A while England came in second behind South Africa, the team they lost to in their Group B opener at the WACA in Perth.
The ICC has maintained that the T20 World Cups (for both men and women) are short, sharp events with reserve days factored in only for the final. Also, all the teams knew of the playing conditions and did sign on it much before the tournament began. “Allowing for any other reserve days would have extended the length of the event, which isn’t feasible. There is a clear and fair alternative should there be no play in any of the semi-finals with the winner of the group progressing,” a spokesperson had said on the eve of the game.
Many of you might be thinking that the committee could have waited for some time before abandoning the match! But it’s not possible as the second Semi-final is scheduled to be played at the same venue so there would have been broadcast issues among other logistical nightmares. Also, another rule for ICC tournament T20Is mandates that for a full game, a minimum of 20 overs will have to be bowled. That means we would need enough time for each team to play 10 overs with time for a changeover in the middle. This is in contrast to non-ICC event T20 games, which can be five-overs-a-side affairs
Let’s see what both the captains have to say about it. Heather Knight, the captain of England team said, “It is frustrating, [we] didn’t want the World Cup to end this way but not much you can do about this. It would have been good to have a reserve day perhaps. That loss to South Africa cost us. We expected to reach the semi-finals and that we did. We did feel like we had started to gain momentum in recent games and we were really ready for this semifinal. We were undone by the weather”. Harmanpreet Kaur, the Indian cricket team captain said, “It is unfortunate not to get a game due to the weather. But that’s how the rules go. In the future, it would be nice to have a reserve day. From day one, we knew that we have to win all the games because if in case we don’t get any play in the semifinals, it will be hard for us. Credit to the team, we wanted to win all the games and we did it.”
Talking about the current scenario in Sydney, it’s still raining and if it continues to rain till the second Semi-finals then South Africa will qualify and Australia will be knocked out for the same reasons. Finals are scheduled to be held on 8th March, Sunday. The weather forecast for Melbourne seems fine with a mere 8% chance of rain. If the downpour continues on the final day then a reserve day is there for it and if it still continues to rain on the reserve day then both the finalists will share the trophy.