Forecasters are warning that more rain – but also some sun – is on the way in the coming days in Australian cities that should be the pinnacle of cricket’s shortest format.
The famous Melbourne Cricket Groundwhich will host the final on November 13, was hit by almost non-stop rain on Friday.
First, the weather claimed Ireland’s match against Afghanistan without a ball being sent off, meaning the Afghans abandoned two of their three World Cup matches due to rain. They lost the other one.
Teams take one point each when a game is washed out and they are not rescheduled.
“Very frustrating. After the (washed out) New Zealand game you obviously thought it wasn’t going to happen twice,” Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott, the former England batsman, said on a soggy MCG.
“The frustrating thing is also that there is a stadium down the road which also has a roof on it so you can play cricket there, so we could have had a lot of cricket,” added Trott.
With the rain refusing to go away, the highly-anticipated clash between Ashes rivals Australia and England fell victim, doing neither team any favors as two of the pre-tournament favorites trying to salvage their failed title bid.
“The outfield has been drenched in the last few weeks, as wet as I’ve ever seen it,” Australian captain Aaron Finch said.
“The run-up and around the circle was very, very wet. It’s about player safety.”
The Super 12 stage has now had four games out of a scheduled 14 abandoned due to rain – three in Melbourne and the other in Hobart.
England’s shock defeat to Ireland on Wednesday, again in Melbourne, was also affected by rain. The Irish won by five runs on the DLS method.
Zimbabwe coach Dave Houghton made no attempt to hide his anger after referees tried but failed to complete their match with South Africa in Hobart on Monday in what he called “ridiculous” amounts of rain. not.
Zimbabwean fast bowler Richard Ngarava slipped and had to be taken off injured before the match was finally called off just as South Africa were closing in on victory.
Forecasters blamed La Nina for heavier than usual downpours and cooler temperatures in northern and eastern Australia and said they expected the weather system to hang around for the whole of November – the rest of the World Cup.
Teams generally try to put a brave face on it and, at least publicly, say they can adapt to whatever the conditions bring.
But questions are mounting about the format of the tournament – teams play five games in two weeks in the Super 12 stage – and its timing.
“That’s what happens at this time of year and the start of (Australian) summers,” Trott said.
“It always has the potential to happen, and it’s just very unfortunate.
“That’s what makes tournaments unpredictable. That’s what makes tournaments exciting in terms of the games ahead, must-win games,” he added.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is predicting showers in Melbourne all of next week, but the city will not host another World Cup match until November 6, the MCG’s penultimate game before the final.
Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Sydney will play matches in the coming days. They are a mix of sunshine and showers, with Brisbane mostly dry and sunny, but Adelaide looking wet and even stormy.
England captain Jos Buttler was in a philosophical mood.
“Obviously we play a sport that’s outdoors and the elements are a big part of our game,” he said.
“They affect the surfaces we play on, they affect conditions … (that’s) what makes our sport really unique.”
But pressed by reporters if the integrity of the World Cup was at stake, Buttler conceded: “When you have multiple matches affected by the weather, it certainly doesn’t give you a truer reflection” of the tournament.