Rain washes out T20 clash with Australia

England captain Joss Butler [centre] and his Australian counterpart Aaron Finch talk to the umpires before their T20 clash at the MCG was abandoned.

England captain Joss Butler [centre] and his Australian counterpart Aaron Finch talk to the umpires before their T20 clash at the MCG was abandoned. Photo: AAP

Australia’s blockbuster Twenty20 World Cup clash with England at the MCG has been abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Persistent rain in Melbourne this week continued on Friday, leading to the one of the most eagerly anticipated matches of the tournament not going ahead.

No rain fell from just before 7pm AEDT, the scheduled start time, but the match never started as umpires were concerned about wet areas on the ground and near the pitch.

The umpires held two further pitch inspections and promised to do another one at 8.50pm, but it never happened as a short shower came through and the covers were again placed on the MCG pitch.

Shortly after, opposing captains Aaron Finch and Jos Buttler shook hands to signal the abandonment of the match.

Bitterly disappointing for fans, players

“Tonight was shaping as a blockbuster, most of our players had pencilled this one in early in the World Cup campaign and there was obviously going to be a huge crowd,” Australia coach Andrew McDonald told reporters.

“Bitterly disappointing for the fans, bitterly disappointing for the players.”

The first game of the day at the MCG between Ireland and Afghanistan was also called off because of poor weather.

It comes after Wednesday’s New Zealand-Afghanistan match at the MCG was abandoned, with the England-Ireland game earlier on that day decided by the Duckworth Lewis Method after rain set in.

Afghanistan coach Jonathan Trott was bemused the roofed Marvel Stadium, less than 5km from the MCG, was not considered by the International Cricket Council for use during the World Cup.

But McDonald, a proud Victorian, believes the MCG should always be the first option for cricket games in Melbourne.

“Everyone wants to play at the MCG, you can’t predict the weather,” he said.

“There’s probably no better place you’d want to be playing than the MCG.”

The crunch game shaped as an effective eliminator for the loser after England’s shock defeat to Ireland on Wednesday.

Aaron Finch’s team was reeling after being thrashed by New Zealand in its opening match of the tournament last Saturday.

Fourth-placed Australia will have to win its remaining two games against Afghanistan and Ireland and rely on the Black Caps beating England to advance to the semi-finals.

England’s destiny remains in its hands thanks to a superior net run rate to Australia, meaning it can move through to the final-four if it wins both its matches.

“Unfortunately, to get two games affected by weather (this week), you don’t want to be involved in those games, but it’s going to happen wherever you play in the world,” Buttler said.

“It’s a shame for everybody involved, all the fans who have been come to watch this game live and everyone wanting to watch on TV.

“For players, Australia against England at the MCG in a must-win World Cup match is as big as it gets in your career.

“These are the games you want to be involved in, no matter what the result is going to be, it’s something you want to experience as a cricketer.”

There was little to cheer at the MCG on Friday when two T20 World Cup matches were abandoned without a ball being bowled because of rain and a damp outfield. Photo: AAP

McDonald said wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, was set to face England as his symptoms were only minor.

However, the Tasmania veteran was isolated from the rest of the squad and arrived at the MCG separately.

Leg-spinner Adam Zampa missed Australia’s match against Sri Lanka in Perth on Tuesday but has recovered and would have returned to replace Ashton Agar in the XI.


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