South Africa and Australia will square off in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup on Tuesday. England and India contest the other fixture, with both matches scheduled to take place at the same venue.
Proteas skipper Dane van Niekerk has said that her team doesn’t want to repeat the heartache of previous tournaments, but if the weather has its say, it will be Australia who’ll be left heartbroken. Here’s why.
Ten overs make a T20 match
Rain and cricket go together like samp and beans. South Africans are all too familiar with rain-induced heartbreak at ICC events. Cricket’s laws make accommodations for rain interference, but because of the sport’s many idiosyncrasies, there’s a limit on how many overs are required to constitute an official match. In T20s, five overs a side would do. But let’s be real. That would be a farce. The governing body thus requires ten overs a side for its official T20 events. The first semi-final is scheduled to begin at 6:00 (SAST) while South Africa’s match is scheduled for 10:00 (SAST).
What the forecast says
Two group matches were washed out in Sydney earlier in the week and the current “possible forecast” according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is between 15 to 25mm and the chance of “any” rain is 95%. Factor in getting the ground ready after a downpour and limited turnaround time between doubleheaders and the schedule is looking pretty tight.
Reserve days, results and the rest
There’s no reserve day scheduled for the semi-final. Instead, the highest-ranked team from the two groups will progress in the case of a washed-out fixture. That means India would progress ahead of England and South Africa ahead of Australia in the event of a washout.
Van Niekerk was quick to point out that while they very much know that this would be in their favour, she admitted that it’d be upsetting if they were at the other end.
The argument in favour of no reserve day for a semi-final is that teams should play at full tilt to ensure that they aren’t at the receiving end of such an unfortunate incident. All teams were aware of the regulations ahead of the tournament and knew that losing one of their fixtures could have a knock-on effect.