Women’s Sport: Laura Marsh says washed out semi-finals would be a "travesty" for the tournament

Previews: England v Australia – 1st Royal London Women's ODI

Former England international and T20 World-Cup winner Laura Marsh has voiced her doubts over the lack of reserve days for the World-Cup semi-finals which are due to take place this Thursday. 

The competition as a whole has been a roaring success thus far – but it could yet end in farce.It would have been fitting for the group stage of this T20 World Cup, which has seen enterprising cricket throughout, to come to a close with another explosive and enthralling game. However, throughout yesterday morning, as the rain fell onto the Sydney Showground outfield, it became clear that there would be no such treat.

Both the West Indies game against South Africa and Thailand's encounter with Pakistan fell victim to the weather as each side shared a point apiece. This meant the Proteas finished top of Group B and will play hosts Australia in the second semi-final on Thursday after India face England.

Despite being an unremarkable end to a pretty remarkable group phase, there’s little harm done or feeling of injustice associated with the washout; the four sides who have progressed to the semis had done so before yesterday.

However, should the heavens open on Thursday, as forecast, the sense of hardship will be palpable. Why? Because no reserve days have been scheduled in this tournament.

The result of this frankly astonishing organisational decision would be that India and South Africa would qualify for the final, as they won their respective groups. Both Australia and England would justly feel cheated of an opportunity to lunge for the title in the tournament showpiece.

Former England off-spinner Laura Marsh enjoyed a stellar career during her 13 year England tenure. Marsh was part of the side which won the World T20 in 2009 and also enjoyed ODI World Cup success in both 2009 and 2017. Asked about the lack of reserve days at this year's competition, Marsh voiced her frustration at this decision. 

"It seems ridiculous for a tournament of this magnitude not have reserve days scheduled," she told GiveMeSport. "All four semi-finalists deserve an equal opportunity to progress to the final. It would be a travesty to see any side get knocked out because of the rain. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to this."

 

What’s maybe even worse than the misfortune that could befall the Aussies and the English should the rain come down on Thursday though, is the understandable temptation for cricket fans worldwide not to recognise the eventual winners as true champions.

Imagine if South Africa went on to win their first T20 title on Sunday, having been spared facing the defending champions, pre-tournament favourites and hosts Australia. South Africans, Australians and neutrals alike would all be thinking similar things – are you really the champions of the world?

The same goes for India, having never won the World T20 and having lost their most recent game against England, if they went on to win the tournament without playing Heather Knight’s side, questions would always hang over their victory.

I guess we all better hope that on Thursday the sun shines on Sydney.

Weather washes out final two World-Cup group-matches 
Australia qualify for semi-finals after defeating New Zealand in tense game 
Australia hopes dealt massive blow by Perry injury 

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