Wash-out would send Proteas into World Cup final
Australia would be knocked out by Group B winners if their semifinal clash is not completed
Sydney — Australia’s hopes of retaining the Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in a blockbuster final on Sunday could fall foul of the Sydney weather, with heavy rain threatening to wash out Thursday’s semifinals.
Due to a shock loss to India in their tournament opener Australia finished second in Group A, so would be knocked out by Group B winners SA if their semifinal clash at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) is not completed.
Unbeaten India take on England in the first of Thursday’s semifinals at the SCG and would progress to Sunday’s final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) if a minimum of 10 overs a side were not possible due to the weather.
Cricket Australia has spoken to the International Cricket Council about the possibility of moving the matches to a reserve day, but has been told it is impossible under tournament rules, Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts said. “It’s not part of the playing conditions and we respect that,” he told Melbourne’s SEN radio on Wednesday.
Stormy weather is forecast throughout Thursday at the SCG, with the chance of rain in the evening when Australia are scheduled to take on the South Africans ranging from 50% to 70%.
The loss to the tournament of the four-time champions and hosts would be a major blow to hopes that Sunday’s final will attract a crowd in excess of 90,000 to the MCG.
The host’s immediate priority, though, is to fill the void created by all-rounder Ellyse Perry’s exit from the tournament with a hamstring injury. “We’ve got a few options that we’re looking at to replace Ellysse,” Australia captain Meg Lanning said. “Obviously we can’t truly replace her, but we’ve got a number of different options to go with depending on the conditions.”
SA are also fretting over the availability of all-rounder Marizanne Kapp, who suffered heart palpitations in Sunday’s match against Pakistan and skipped training. “A player’s health is more important than a game,” skipper Dane van Niekerk said. “Whatever decision is made I am confident other players would step up and make sure she is not missed too much.”
India will be hoping to improve their dismal 0-5 tournament record against England in a rematch of the 2018 semifinal in Antigua. “After losing the last semifinal, as a team we realised that we have to work as a unit,” India captain Harmanpreet Kaur said. “We just need to keep doing the right things and just focus on the right things instead of worrying about the past.”