Women’s T20 World Cup: Ripples over lack of reserve day after semi-final washout
“It’s all very English isn’t it, talking about the weather,” said England captain Heather Knight after exiting from the women’s World T20 because the semi-final against India was abandoned in Sydney due to rain. “No reserve day for World Cup semi-finals…What a shambles,” tweeted former England captain Michael Vaughan.
The washout meant India entered their first World T20 final on the back of winning all four league games to top Group A.
Commiserations for Knight’s team came from Harmanpreet Kaur, the India captain, who said not getting a game in the knockout stage was unfortunate. “But these are the rules. We can’t help it,” she said.
A spokesperson for the International Cricket Council (ICC) said the World T20 is supposed to be “short and sharp”.
There is no reserve day for semi-finals in the men’s World T20 either. “Allowing for any other reserve days would have extended the length of the event, which isn’t feasible,” said the ICC spokesperson. It wasn’t, however, clear how having an extra day for the semi-finals would have extended the tournament scheduled to end on Sunday. Like in the men’s World T20 and the IPL, there is a reserve day for the final in Melbourne.
All 10 teams in the women’s World T20 had agreed to the playing conditions. So Australia’s belated bid to seek an additional day was turned down. “In future, all boards need to ensure they flag issues before signing off on all tournaments,” tweeted former West Indies pacer Ian Bishop. Bishop’s comment comes less than one year after England won the men’s 50-over World Cup on a boundary countback.
“As an Indian, I am absolutely thrilled India has made it to the finals. But as a cricketer I feel for the English girls. I’d never want to find myself or my team in that situation,” said Mithali Raj, India’s ODI captain who retired from T20Is last year.
“The reserve day was available in the men’s tournament. I am pretty sure the authorities will look into it and they will provide a reserve day for knockout games in women’s cricket as well,” said former India batsman Sanjay Bangar, referring to the men’s 50-over World Cup where playing conditions factored for knockout games not finishing in one day. India lost the semi-final to New Zealand on the second day.
In the current edition of the World T20, India beat defending champions Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Sri Lanka on way to the semi-finals. “We knew from day one that we would have to win all the games because if we don’t get a match because of any condition, then whoever is at the top in the league, that team is going to play the final,” said Kaur.
Former India players Neelima Joglekar and Shanta Rangaswamy said the semi-final would have been ideal preparation for the final. “England bowlers and batters have done extremely well and it would have been great to see Shafali (Verma), Smriti (Mandhana), Harman taking on their bowlers and Poonam Yadav against a batter like Heather Knight,” said Rangaswamy, captain of the first Test India won.
England beat Thailand, Pakistan and West Indies after losing the opening game to South Africa.
“That ultimately cost us… We’re just going to have to rue that first game and try to move on but it’s going to be a bitter pill to swallow for a few of us now,” said Knight. “You would hope now there is going to be a rule change and moving forward, no other team will have to experience going out of a World Cup purely because of rain,” she said.