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Last night's seven-over farce in Durban

Dave Warner was one of the few batsmen to perform in Australia's loss. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Expert
12th March, 2014
13

The three-game Twenty20 series between South Africa and Australia has been devastated by rain, with no alternative date.

The first in Port Elizabeth was abandoned without a ball being bowled, the second a seven-over baseball game.

South Africa flogged 1-80, Australia replied with 5-82 with David Warner smashing 40 off 16 with five fours and two sixes, and veteran Brad Hodge an unbeaten 21 off just eight deliveries with a four and two sixes.

Farcical. What did this game achieve?

Nothing

This series has always been a vital warm-up for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, but the ICC has never learned from the ultimate farce during the 1992 World Cup in Australia between England and South Africa for a place in the final.

To cut a long story short, persistent rain meant South Africa had to score 22 runs off one ball to win.

Brian McMillan pushed a single to mid-wicket and England clinched a place in the final, only to lose to Pakistan at the MCG,

Having to score 22 off one ball will remain one of the ICC’s most embarrassing moments, with no alternative date slated to accommodate for the weather.

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To add to the confusion and the mess, host broadcaster Channel 9 insisted the game had to finish that day.

It wasn’t until 1999 that the Duckworth-Lewis method surfaced, but even that should be superseded by an alternative playing date to decide any game that has been severely interrupted by rain.

The third game is scheduled for Centurion tomorrow, with ample time to set an alternate date if the rain in South Africa continues.

South Africa have a World Cup practice game scheduled against Bangladesh at Fatullah on March 18, while the Australians will meet the Kiwis the next day on the same ground.

But it would be fair to say a genuine South Africa-Australia game at Centurion squad be more beneficial and meaningful at this stage than a practice game in Bangladesh.

South Africa’s World Cup campaign opens with Sri Lanka on March 22 at Chittagong, Australia’s against Pakistan the next day at Mirpur.

I must agree with Shane Watson that this Australian side is better balanced than the usual T20 sides. In the past Australia has never treated the format with the respect it deserves.

Now they have their priorities right, Australia can give this tournament a shake.

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The run-getteres are all goers – Warne, Aaron Finch, Cam White, George Bailey, Hodge, Brad Haddin and Glenn Maxwell.

The attack has plenty if sting and spin with Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, James Faulkner, Watson, Brad Hogg, and James Muirhead.

I expect the 20-year-old leggie Muirhead to be one of the leading lights, he has the control and the temperament, despite his limited experience, to buy his wickets cheaply.

And in George Bailey, Australia has a crack captain. With Cam White by his side, the on and off-field executive is in the very best of hands.