We look back into the World Cup archives to see just how decisive this wave of washouts could prove to be
By Ben Kosky
Last Updated: 12/06/19 12:38pm
It’s an unwanted record for this World Cup – more matches have already fallen foul of wet weather than at any of the previous editions.
The rain has ruined three group games so far, with Sri Lanka’s game against Pakistan the first to go last Friday, and only 45 balls were bowled in South Africa’s clash with West Indies on Monday.
Sri Lanka were defeated by the weather for a second time on Tuesday, with their fixture against Bangladesh abandoned before either side could set foot on a drenched outfield.
But how significant a factor could the wave of washouts actually be when it comes to determining which four sides will make the semi-finals and keep their hopes of glory alive?
Delving back into World Cup history, it seems a decisive downpour has certainly done some teams a lot more harm than others…
1979 – West Indies vs Sri Lanka, The Oval
Given that the first three World Cups were staged in England, it might seem surprising that this Group B fixture was the only one in all three tournaments to be washed out.
Although there were two reserve days set aside, it made no difference to the outcome and, under the existing points system – with four for a win – the teams were awarded two each.
Impact: West Indies won every other game in the tournament as they went on to retain the trophy – but, had Sri Lanka had pulled off an upset at The Oval, they could have qualified for the semi-finals ahead of New Zealand.
1992 – Pakistan vs England, Adelaide
England were denied what would have been their third-straight victory in the tournament, having bowled their opponents out for just 74 in 40.2 overs.
Although the target was revised to 64 from 16 overs, Graham Gooch’s side had reached 24-1 at the halfway point when the weather intervened again to rescue Pakistan.
Impact: Enormous. Pakistan’s point ultimately ensured that they edged out Australia to make the last four and went on to win the trophy against England – who had benefited from the infamous ‘rain rule’ in their tense semi-final clash with South Africa.
An earlier group match between India and Sri Lanka was also abandoned due to rain, but neither side was ever in contention for the semi-finals in any case.
1999 – Zimbabwe vs New Zealand, Headingley
Zimbabwe appeared to be fighting their way back into this Super Sixes clash as they defended a modest total of 175, built around Murray Goodwin’s half-century.
New Zealand were 58 without loss before losing three quick wickets to slump to 70-3 from 15 overs, but still looked like favourites to seal victory before the heavens opened.
Impact: New Zealand might well have gone on to win the game, but the result meant they finished level on points with Zimbabwe, edging them out for a semi-final spot on net run-rate.
2003 – West Indies vs Bangladesh, Benoni
West Indies seemed to be in control after posting a total of 244-9 and then capturing two early wickets in the Bangladesh reply, courtesy of Vasbert Drakes and Mervyn Dillon.
But the game was halted with the Tigers 32-2 in the ninth over – insufficient to bring the Duckworth-Lewis calculations into play and the teams had to settle for two points each.
Impact: Had they won the game, West Indies would have finished level with third-placed New Zealand in Pool B and qualified in their place for the Super Sixes with a superior run-rate.
2003 – Zimbabwe vs Pakistan, Bulawayo
Pakistan needed to win their final Pool A game to stand a chance of overhauling their opponents in the table and qualifying for the Super Sixes in third place.
However, only 14 overs were bowled, with Pakistan progressing to 73-3 before bowing out of the competition.
Impact: The no result ensured that Zimbabwe advanced to the Super Sixes, while Pakistan – and England, who could theoretically still have qualified with a Zimbabwe defeat – were eliminated.
2011 – Sri Lanka vs Australia, Colombo
The home side won the toss and decided to bat, but were stuttering at 31-2 before skipper Kumar Sangakkara came to their rescue with an undefeated 73.
His unbroken partnership of 71 with Thilan Samaraweera had lifted Sri Lanka to a healthier 146-3 when rain intervened in the 33rd over.
Impact: Both teams qualified for the quarter-finals, but the abandoned game ensured Sri Lanka took second place in the group and secured an easier tie against England, while third-placed Australia were knocked out by eventual winners India.
2015 – Australia vs Bangladesh, Brisbane
Both teams had already won their opening Pool A fixtures prior to their day-night clash at the Gabba, but the contest was called off without a ball being bowled.
Australia went on to lose their next game, a low-scoring thriller against New Zealand, but still qualified for the quarter-finals in second place, with fourth-placed Bangladesh joining them.
Impact: Minimal. A positive result would have made no difference to either team’s eventual position in the group. Bangladesh lost their quarter-final to India, who were then beaten by Australia in the last four.
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