T20 World Cup 2022: Rain dampens mood in Melbourne once again


“Aussie, Aussie, Aussie… Oi! Oi! Oi!” a couple of boys cheered as they walked into the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday afternoon for the T20 World Cup double-header.

Although the region has been witnessing relentless showers over the past few days, these lads wouldn’t have expected both the scheduled games – the first between Afghanistan and Ireland, followed by the crucial Aussie-English battle – to be abandoned without a ball being bowled. A rain-curtailed game may have at least given them a few moments to cherish.

Australia coach Andrew McDonald, who hails from this part of the world, was also surprised to see ‘so much rain’ at this time of the year. This is when one usually welcomes the summer months.

After the Ireland-Afghanistan fixture was called off with both the sides expressing their frustrations, the weather improved for a while, fueling hopes of at least a curtailed match between Australia and England.

And almost immediately the ground staff sprang into action, the super soppers came alive and the match officials conducted rounds of inspection over a period of two hours and five minutes before they decided to abandon the game due to an ‘unsafe’ outfield, with a number of wet patches spread across the playing area.

The two captains – Jos Buttler and Aaron Finch – were consulted before the big decision and as the two captains shook hands and walked towards their respective dugouts.

Their expressions narrated volumes about what was going on inside their heads. After all, the World Cup campaign had just got tougher!

“There are some areas inside the 30-yard circle which were not fit to play. So as much as we all want to play cricket and stuff, it has to be safe, and it certainly wasn’t that. Player safety is really important,” Buttler said.

England would be the slightly happier of the two, now that the points were shared. It is because Australia needs to catch up and improve its Net Run Rate. Currently at -1.555, Australia’s NRR is far behind England’s 0.239.

But then, England’s remaining fixtures – New Zealand and Sri Lanka – are tougher on paper than Australia’s – Ireland and Afghanistan. So, the washout means that Group 1 is wide open, and the last leg in Brisbane could actually spice things up.

Despite the rains and inclement weather, the MCG had an attendance of 37,565. The crowd waited patiently to see Australia taking the field at the iconic venue for the first time since the demise of local boy and spin wizard Shane Warne. It was an emotional moment for the players, fans and a few members of the family, who attended the game. But in the end, it turned out to be an evening of heartbreaks.


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