ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – Australia and India set to contest the decider, but not before rain affected the semi-finals

I’m sure the competition organisers and many followers are happy that Australia and India will square off in the ICC Women’s T20 decider, at the prestigious MCG on Sunday.


The competition hosts and defending champions taking on a team that is undefeated in the current tournament certainly seems fitting, right?


Well, yes and no.


Unfortunately the finals series has been somewhat tainted by the Sydney weather, as rain forced the first semi-final to be abandoned before the second semi-final yielded a clear-cut if tight result, albeit with a rain-reduced target.


England has every right to feel hard done by, as the lower-ranked team in the India versus England semi-final at the SCG was sure to be eliminated as the contest was rained off without a ball bowled. To rub salt into England’s wounds, the lower-ranked team in the second semi-final upstaged the higher-ranked team just hours later.


Whether or not the finals schedule was fair is something that will undoubtedly generate plenty of attention before the next World Cup takes place. Should there have been a reserve day for the semi-finals, or should a venue change have been available?


Unfortunately, an unsatisfactory outcome like the one England encountered is the only type of thing that instigates a change to make the rules fairer, which then makes one wonder why the supposedly newfound ‘fairer’ rules didn’t simply exist in the first place.


Check Smriti Mandhana’s reaction to India sealing a berth in the final:


When it comes to the vagaries of rain-affected World Cup cricket, I instantly think of the men’s competition in 1992. After being rolled for 74 by England in a round-robin match in Adelaide, Pakistan luckily gained a competition point – along with its opponent – after rain prevented England from facing enough overs to constitute a result.


The Pakistanis later sneaked into the last of the finals places, which wouldn’t have happened had they lost that match against England in Adelaide. Later, the ‘cornered Tigers’ (as they were known under Imran Khan’s captaincy in the 1992 tournament) capitalised on their extraordinary piece of good luck as they beat England in the decider to become world champions.


Pakistan also had some good fortune in the decider as Javed Miandad was ruled not out early in his innings when he appeared plumb lbw, before going on to make 58. In the run chase, England opener Ian Botham was ruled caught behind for a duck when it was quite obvious that he hadn’t hit the ball.


England’s road to the 1992 final also gained unsatisfactory attention after rain intervened in its semi-final stoush with South Africa. The Proteas needed 22 runs from the last 13 balls with four wickets in hand. These days the task sounds very achievable from a batting perspective, but back in 1992 the bowling side was definitely the favourite in that situation.


Nonetheless, with Brian McMillan and Dave Richardson gaining momentum in their seventh wicket partnership, there was every chance that South Africa could have reached the target.


Under the rules at the time, two overs were lost while the target was reduced by just one run. South Africa suddenly needed 21 runs off one ball, although an error meant the scoreboard said that 22 runs were needed from one ball.


What the South African women encountered at the same venue 28 years later wasn’t quite so unfair, it must be said. As a matter of fact, I think the Australians and Proteas had a fair chance to win Thursday night’s semi-final in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. Certainly, the fate for both teams was in their own hands.


Both sides had a major setback, as Australia missed Ellyse Perry due to injury while South Africa missed Marizanne Kapp due to illness. Australian left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux came in for her first match of the tournament, while Delissa Kimmince was also recalled as Annabel Sutherland was omitted.


Alyssa Healy hit four boundaries but faced just 13 balls, and was first out with the total at 34. Beth Mooney and captain Meg Lanning showed good form, but then the hosts slipped from 1-68 to 4-71.


Nadine de Klerk proved a more than adequate replacement for Kapp, as de Klerk uprooted Mooney’s leg stump before having Ash Gardner caught behind without scoring. In between those two dismissals, Australia’s decision to promote Jess Jonassen to number four proved a fizzer as she lofted a catch to deep mid-on.


Rachael Haynes scored a useful 17 while Lanning went on to make an unbeaten 49 off as many balls. One of many turning points came as she benefited from a dropped catch.


The Duckworth-Lewis system, which was unheard of in 1992, reduced the 2020 South African women’s team’s target to 98 runs in 13 overs as rain interrupted play during the innings break. Crucially, 10 overs needed to be bowled in order for the game to constitute a result. If fewer than 10 overs were bowled in the run chase, the Proteas were sure to progress to the decider.


The third over yielded 11 runs and a key wicket, as Lizelle Lee skied a Molineux delivery to long-on. After four overs, the Proteas sank to 2-23 as a brilliant delivery from Megan Schutt rattled Dane van Niekerk’s stumps.


A fine catch from Lanning sent Mignon du Preez on her way to make the score 3-24, but Laura Wolvaardt and Sune Luus halted the collapse and kept the Proteas in the hunt.


Another key moment occurred in the sixth over when a no-ball gave Wolvaardt a free hit, only for a dot ball to ensue. Twelve runs in the eighth over meant 51 runs were needed in five overs, before the next two overs yielded 19 runs.


A mixture of yorkers and slower balls from Kimmince restricted the Proteas to just five runs in the 11th over, before a clever slower ball from Schutt produced a wicket as Luus skewed a drive to long-off. Wolvaardt clubbed Schutt’s last delivery for a vital six, and suddenly the rain returned!


A wicket off a full toss at the start of the last over meant 19 runs were still needed with just five balls left, and no suggestion that the players would leave the field as the rain became heavier.


Wolvaardt slashed the second ball of the over for four, before a fine piece of fielding from Mooney saved two runs from the third ball. Jonassen restricted Wolvaardt to a single from the fourth ball, meaning de Klerk needed to hit two consecutive sixes for a South African victory. She managed only a four and a two, leaving Australia victorious by five runs.


It was South Africa’s first loss of the tournament, with the Proteas having won three times and had one washout.


Interestingly, Georgia Wareham didn’t bat or bowl for Australia.


Check match highlights here:


Check the post-match press conference here:


Let’s not forget the contribution from the groundstaff, who did brilliantly under difficult circumstances to ensure the second semi-final could take place following a few days of rain.


It was certainly far removed from a few State of Origin rugby league matches at the same venue in the 1980s, when the field turned into a quagmire.


So now, we look ahead to the final, with Australia still missing the prestigious Ellyse Perry while another Perry – Katy – provides off-field ‘entertainment’.


Stay tuned for a preview of the main game.



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About Liam Hauser

A Queenslander through and through, Liam went out of his comfort zone as he had a thoroughly worthwhile time in Tumut and Gundagai from 2008 to 2016 before enjoying a year in Gunnedah. His strongest sporting interests are State of Origin, Sheffield Shield, Test cricket and the NRL. His sporting CV doesn’t have many highlights, although he once top-scored in a warehouse cricket match with 54 not out at number 10, and shared in an unbroken last wicket stand of 83 with the number 11 who scored an undefeated 52. Liam has written books including State of Origin 40 Years, A Century of Cricket Tests, A History of Test Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Cricket, The Immortals of Australian Rugby League, and The Great Grand Finals: Rugby League's Greatest Contests. Also a huge fan of Electric Light Orchestra.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    An in-depth and resourceful review as we’ve come to expect from you Liam. Keep them coming. The final should be a cracker, and I’d imagine a huge crowd to cheer the Aussies on. Cheers.

  2. The final gives us a chance to see the Aussies get a second go at taking on India’s spinners who had the upper hand in their earlier encounter. Have they learned anything? It could be quite engrossing.

  3. India looked vulnerable against a lacklustre Pakistan side. Aussies are in this with every chance ????

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