Denied by persistent showers, South Africa coach Mark Boucher suggested his team was better off with a no result in the first round of the T20 World Cup instead of being knocked out by rain in the knock-outs again.
Set a target of 80 in nine overs by Zimbabwe, which was revised to 64 in seven overs after a brief rain interruption in its opening T20 World Cup match, South Africa was cruising at 51 for no loss in three overs, with opener Quinton de Kock going strong at an 18-ball unbeaten 47.
Rain, then, came their way, as it did in the 1992 World Cup semifinals and the 2003 World Cup, leading to the match being called off.
“Yes, we haven’t had a good history with rain,” Boucher said at the post-match press conference.
“But rather have it happen in the first game when we’re still in control of what we can do.” The start of the match was delayed by more than two hours, and it was reduced to a nine-overs-per-side affair.
Play resumed after a brief interruption one over into South Africa’s innings, but once it began to rain again, umpires Ahsan Raza and Michael Gough decided to call off the match with South Africa 13 runs away from completing its chase under the Duckworth/Lewis method.
Boucher said his side was keen to carry on playing, with the team on the verge of victory.
“We’re here to play a World Cup, and we wanted to play. It seemed like both captains wanted to play at the start. If you look at the game before (at the same ground, between Bangladesh and the Netherlands), the field was pretty wet as well.
“The bottom line is players don’t make those decisions. The officials are there to make those decisions.” Boucher said if Zimbabwe was in their position, it would have also wanted to continue playing.
“We were in a very good position. So if we walk away from this game thinking we were hard done by and whether the game should have taken place or not … If Zimbabwe were in our position they would have wanted to carry on playing.” Zimbabwe coach Dave Houghton said his side shouldn’t have even bowled a ball.
Houghton slammed the conditions at the Bellerive Oval, saying they were unsafe and ridiculous”.
“I understand the need to try and get these games (played) for the public and the people watching on TV, and the need to try and play and get a result in slightly inclement weather,” Houghton said.
“But I think we overstepped that mark in this game. I thought there were four or five overs where we should have come off.
“I don’t think we should have even bowled a ball, to be fair. But the umpires are the guys making those decisions out in the middle, and they seemed to think it was fit to play. I disagree with them but there’s not much I can do off the field.
“The rain had got so heavy at one stage, it was ridiculous. For most of the evening, it was misty with mizzle, but it got to the stage where we could hear it thumping on the roof in the dugout. To me, that’s no longer mizzle and drizzle. That’s time to get off the field.
“I don’t think the conditions were right to carry on playing.”