A lack of foresight on the part of the T20 Women’s World Cup organisers could see Australia, the favourite, miss out on a berth in the final.
The semi-finals are slated for Thursday, 5 March, and pit Australia against South Africa, while England take on India in the second game. The tournament rules mean that if the games are washed out, then the teams that finished on top of their groups will go through – meaning India and South Africa will do battle at the MCG on Sunday 8 March.
Exactly why the ICC did not allocate an additional day in the event of rain getting in the way – Sydney is known for rainy weather at this time of the year – is anybody’s guess. On Tuesday, the match between Thailand and Pakistan was washed out, after the Thais had made 3-150 in their 20 overs.
The other game on Tuesday saw no play at all, with South Africa and the West Indies twiddling their thumbs in the pavilion right through the day.
Earlier this year, we had the BBL final being ruined by rain in the same city – Sydney.
So should we really be surprised at this lack of planning? Despite a great deal of lip service being paid to the women’s game, there’s been little to show in practical terms. The matches have been pushed to a second, or at times, a third channel on the host broadcaster. Some have not been shown in Australia on free-to-air. This, in case you have forgotten, is a World Cup.
And even though there are plenty of women who know the game well enough to serve as commentators, we have ex-cricketers like Ian Bishop and Nasser Hussain mansplaining the proceedings to all and sundry.
TV channels are famous for having second-level commentators – who sit in the studio and watch and then offer their words of wisdom – but even at this level, there is one woman and two men. This is a show put on by women and it has been a grand spectacle. Why not give them a little more of a presence?
If anything, the women commentators cannot be worse than the men. Why is there this reluctance to delegate authority, this feeling that women can only operate under the wise leadership of men? It is so 1950s.
The entire tournament has been sold with one pitch: come to the MCG on 8 March and make up the biggest crowd so that you can cheer Australia as they win the final. What of the other nine teams, some of whom have performed well above the level they were expected to reach?
Only two teams – Thailand and Bangladesh – have failed to win a game. That itself is a notable statistic. Many of these teams come from countries where women are basically second-class citizens.
Buy, hey, we men need to show them how it’s done, right?