Australia’s T20I winning streak and charge towards the world number one ranking were washed away by unwanted Sydney spring rain on Sunday at the SCG. While the rain initially seemed to have hindered Pakistan, with a twenty minute rain delay halting the momentum of their innings, it’s return was all that stood between them and defeat. While the visitors would be happy for its intervention, the abandonment of the match will be the cause of much debate in days to come.
On the back of an unbeaten 59 from skipper Babar Azam, and the Duckworth Lewis system, Australia required 119 off 15 overs for victory. Having lost ten overs from the match due to rain, it was a frustrated Australian Skipper upon learning, 20 minutes of good weather would be squandered as a result of the change of innings remaining unchanged.
“It’s frustrating. The 20 minute break in between innings was an interesting one. When you lose a few overs and then you still have a 20 minute break I thought that was really interesting. It probably played out of our hands at that moment. But you can’t do too much about the weather. If you’re cutting overs off the game and you still have a 20 minute break it doesn’t make much sense to me,” Finch said post match.
With five overs required to constitute a match and rain in the air, the target of 33 required at that stage was clearly at the front of Finch’s mind as he opened the batting. Taking 26 off the third over, he had put his team in a strong position on the way to 37 off 16. Unfortunately despite helping his team to 0/41 when rain caused play to be halted once more, because the innings was 11 balls shy of five overs when play was abandoned, no result was declared.
It left many asking why Australia wouldn’t be declared winners, given they had already passed the five over total? Put simply, the target is movable. For example, if Australia lost three wickets in the 11 un-bowled deliveries, the target would have been 43 after five overs.
Despite this, it is an explanation that will make as much sense to people as the adherence to a strict change of innings timeline that saw 20 minutes of good weather lost. For a summer of cricket that is already failing to grab the attention of the Australian public, despite already being four internationals deep, it is another self inflicted wound. Unfortunately, there might not be enough people interested enough to care.