Friday’s T20 World Cup battle royale match between hosts Australia and arch-rivals England was wet as torrential rain in Melbourne prevented a ball from being bowled.
This would leave Australia and England in contention for a semi-final spot, with the losing side effectively eliminated from the tournament but with one point to spare if they win their two remaining matches.
England captain Jos Buttler said it was disappointing to miss out on the chance to play his 100th T20I in front of a packed house. “Yes, being a massive event, a full squad against Australia, the biggest game of your career. I am very disappointed. It would have been a great place to do it (100 matches), but we focused on the next match and saved our tournament. alive We played good cricket leading into the tournament. It was a disappointing game last night (against Ireland). But we have kept full faith in the group and are confident in the players for the rest of the tournament,” Buttler said.
An obvious consequence of rain’s impact on the tournament is that net run-rate becomes a huge factor. Australia will be under pressure to raise their run rate (-1.555).
“The net turnover rate goes into it. We knew that at the beginning of the tournament. When you only play five games, net run rate can decide and influence who makes it to the bottom four. We feel like we’ve been here before,” Australia coach Andrew MacDonald said.
“First and foremost, you have to win the game. Then you can be eligible for NRR. We have to be ready for Afghanistan and Ireland and control what we can,” said Captain Finch.
However, Australia would be the lucky side despite the two sides being level on points and England’s NRR (0.239) being much better than the home side’s. Because England’s remaining matches – New Zealand and Sri Lanka – are tough on paper. Australia’s next matches are against Ireland and Afghanistan.
Group 1 is now open, with afternoon showers ruling out an evening game between Ireland and Afghanistan. Now four teams are three points apiece – New Zealand, England, Ireland and Australia. New Zealand has played one less match. Sri Lanka have two points from two games and Afghanistan have two points from three games.
New Zealand’s game against Sri Lanka on Saturday is now seen as the key match. New Zealand’s stunning 89-run win over Australia boosted their run tally. Saturday’s win put them in control of the group despite their game being tied against Afghanistan after rain. Sri Lanka have even chances and fancy a chance to play against New Zealand. The Islanders will play their last two games against Afghanistan and England.
BLESSED IS FAITHFUL
Friday’s shock means the pressure will be on England after just one win in three games. But with two tough games ahead of them against New Zealand and Sri Lanka, the England captain is undeterred. “We know we’ve got two games left. We’re going to give ourselves the best chance to win those two games and get to the next round,” Butler said.
Afghanistan have been the unluckiest team in the group, with two of their five league games being washed out so far. They play Sri Lanka next and finish with hosts Australia. Ireland are also in the running but they have two tough fixtures against Australia and New Zealand.