Cricket Australia sought clarification from ICC about whether it was possible to have a reserve day for the T20 World Cup semi-final with the weather threatening to ruin the day, which would send Australia and England out, but were told it was not possible to alter the tournament playing conditions.
Kevin Roberts, the CA CEO, revealed the question had been asked but understood why any changes were not possible but added that is an area of the tournament that could be reconsidered in the future.
A minimum of 10 overs per side is needed to make each semi-final a match – up from the usual five-over minimum for T20s – meaning that the weather will need to allow 40 overs for the two games to be completed. If either or both semis are abandoned, the teams that topped the group – India and South Africa – would progress to the final. Australia will play the second game of the day against South Africa and there is a suggestion that the weather may have improved a little by then, following the India-England semi in the afternoon.
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“We’ve asked the question and it’s not part of the playing conditions,” Roberts told SEN Radio. “I respect that because we’ve said the same thing in tournaments that we run in Australia.
“It gives you cause to reflect on how you might improve things in the future absolutely, but going into a tournament with a given set of playing conditions and rules I don’t think it’s time to tinker with that as much as with an Australian hat on I might love that.”
Earlier this season it was thought there was virtually no chance of staging the Big Bash final at the SCG amid a horrendous forecast, but the weather cleared for long enough to play a 12-over match
“We’re optimistic based on the drainage of the SCG, combined with a weather forecast that’s not perfect but not terrible either,” Roberts said. “We’re really hopeful and planning for different scenarios tomorrow night. It reminds me of the lead up to the BBL final a few weeks ago and by way of some miracle we got a 12-over match in. So I think with the drainage of the SCG there’s every chance Australia and South Africa will be playing that semi-final tomorrow night.
“It’d be disappointing for any team for that matter, you want the game to be won and lost inside the ropes rather than won or lost based on the weather don’t you.”
England captain Heather Knight believes that the ICC will be under pressure to add reserve days for future events – there isn’t one for the men’s T20 World Cup either, although there were for the 50-over semi-finals last year which was needed for the India-New Zealand match at Old Trafford – but conceded that the position they are in was largely of their own making after the loss to South Africa at the start of the competition.
“It’s the same for the men’s T20, we did check that this morning, it is strange,” she said. “It will be a shame if it does happen and I’m sure they’ll be a lot of pressure to change that.
“It’s frustrating…it would be nice if we could play in Melbourne. It is what it is, there’s nothing we can do about it. The reserve day would be useful in this situation and it’s a shame for the tournament in general because it’s been great and if both semi-finals are lost it will be a sad time for the tournament. We’d be gutted if that did happen but guess it’s our own fault for losing that game against South Africa. We didn’t top our group and only have ourselves to blame.”
Australia captain Meg Lanning kept a matter-of-attitude to something which is out of their control despite the fact it could be the weather that prevents them from reaching a home World Cup final.
“That’s not the way you want to finish a tournament if that was the way it was to go,” she said. “But they said it was going to rain all day today and it’s sunny out there. Forecasts change all the time. The fact they got a Big Bash game on the other day when it was supposed to rain all day gives us a lot of confidence.
“There’s no doubt been a lot of talk about that but that’s not within our control, we need to focus on what we are doing and prepare to play a full game and prepare for a shorter game as well. We need to be ready for whatever is thrown at us, we are not putting a hell of a lot of thought into because we can’t have a lot of control over it.”
The captains of the two sides who would progress with washouts – Harmanpreet Kaur and Dane van Niekerk – were firm in their views that there should be reserve days.
“Yes, it works in our favour, 100%, but if I was on the other end I’d probably be really upset,” van Niekerk said. “Everybody works really hard to get here, so to lose out with weather is not ideal. It shouldn’t be like that, so I think for semi-finals and finals there should be reserve days.”
Kaur said: “As a team I think there should be [a reserve day] because every team is here to play cricket and if we get a reserve day that will be a great idea.”
An ICC spokesperson said: “The ICC T20 World Cups are short sharp events where reserve days are factored in for the final. 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.”