India reached their first women’s Twenty20 World Cup final after their last-four clash against England was washed out Thursday, sparking calls to include reserve days in future events.
Harmanpreet Kaur’s unbeaten side was due to face the 2009 champions at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but the rain began pouring early in the day and barely let up.
With a minimum of 10 overs per side needed for a result and no break in the weather, the umpires called it off without a ball being bowled.
Normally, five overs a side are needed to constitute a Twenty20 match, but the rules are different for ICC tournaments.
With no reserve day, the highest-ranked teams from the two groups move into the final if the play is not possible, putting India through.
“From day one, we knew we had to win all the games in case the semis didn’t happen,” said Kaur.
“First T20 World Cup final means a lot for us. But as a team, we just want to play our best cricket in the final.” Four-time champions Australia, who finished second in Group A, will be praying for the rain to ease for Thursday’s second semi-final against South Africa, who topped Group B.
‘Pressure on ICC’
A reserve day is allowed for the final and the lack of one for the semis has been criticized by some players, with Kaur among those calling for change.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t get a game, but they are the rules and we have to follow them,” she said.
“Having reserve days in the future will be a great idea.” England captain Heather Knight had said before the match that “there will be a lot of pressure on the ICC to change” the rules.
“Really frustrating,” she said after the washout. “Not how we wanted the World Cup to finish for us. No reserve day, no chance of getting played.
“I felt that we gained a bit of momentum in the last few games and we were pumped up for the semi-finals.” Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts said he asked the ICC about adding a reserve day with the Sydney weather looking ominous, but the request was denied.
“We’ve asked the question and it’s not part of the playing conditions and we respect that,” he told Melbourne’s SEN radio.
“It gives you cause to reflect and think about how you might improve things in the future, but going into a tournament with a given set of playing conditions and rules, I don’t think it’s time to tinker with the rules.”
It is not the way India would have wanted to make the final, but they deserve their spot as the only team to win all four group games.
After opening their campaign by upsetting Australia, they beat Bangladesh, New Zealand and then Sri Lanka.
Teenage batting prodigy Shafali Verma excelled for India, rising to the top of the ICC T20 batting rankings this week aged just 16.
Ranked four in the world, India had made three semi-finals before this year and lost every time, including against England at the last World Cup.