T20 World Cup: Could rain ruin England’s hopes of defending title with poor weather forecast for India semi-final?

25 June 2024, 11:52 | Updated: 25 June 2024, 17:07

England have safely negotiated a rocky route and a fair bit of rain to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup - but could the weather again be set to scupper Jos Buttler's side?

After opening their tournament with a rain-off against Scotland in Barbados which, followed up by defeat to Australia, had England on the brink of elimination before the holders turned things around to sneak into the Super 8s and then secure a final four spot.

But the forecast is again poor for their Thursday semi-final date against India in Guyana - live on Sky Sports Cricket from 3pm (first ball, 3.30pm) - and so what would that mean for England's hopes of defending their title? We attempt to break it all down for you…

What is the forecast like for England's semi-final?

According to the Met Office, as of Tuesday, the weather forecast for Thursday in Guyana is currently showing as "thunder showers changing to heavy showers by late morning", with a 60 per cent chance of rain predicted.

Guyana hosted five matches in the initial group stage of the tournament, none of which were rained off, albeit the last of them came over a fortnight ago on June 8.

As for the first semi-final between South Africa and Afghanistan in Trinidad on Wednesday evening - live on Sky Sports Cricket from 1am Thursday morning (first ball, 1.30am) - the Met Office suggests there will be "light showers changing to clear by early evening", around the time the match is scheduled for.

What are the rules if it were to rain?

There is no reserve day available for the second semi-final between England and India - although an extra 250 minutes is available to look to complete the match on the scheduled day.

It means that if the game cannot be completed due to poor weather, India will advance by virtue of topping their Super 8s pool.

The first semi-final between South Africa - who topped Group 2 - and Afghanistan, on Wednesday evening in Trinidad, does have a reserve day factored in for Thursday.

Section of the ICC's playing conditions for the tournament states: "The Final on 29 June will have a reserve day on 30 June. The semi-finals will each have additional time added in order to complete the match which will total 250 minutes.

"For the first semi-final on 26 June, 60 minutes will be available at the end of the day's play with the remaining 190 minutes scheduled for 2pm on 27 June. Whilst the additional 250 minutes for the second semi-final scheduled on 27 June will be utilised if needed through extended playing hours on the scheduled day."

Why are England playing in the second semi-final?

It was pre-determined that if India reached the final four of the tournament, they would play in the second semi-final as it is at a more friendly time for their country's TV audience (8pm India).

None of India's matches in the competition have come at the scheduled time of the first semi-final (6am India).

With India finishing as Group 1 winners in the Super 8s and England as runners-up in Group 2, it therefore ensured they'd drop into the second semi.

What do the experts say? - 'I don't think it's ideal at all'

Sky Sports' Michael Atherton: "England and India's semi-final doesn't have a rain day. If there's rain in that game, whoever finished first in their group goes through.

"The vagaries of the organisation have put pressure on the organising of the tournament, and it's meant that the two semi-finals are played to slightly different rules and regs.

"Secondly, India knew all along that they were going to be in Guyana for the semi-final and, therefore could plan for it. Their logistics were already in tow for Indian supporters a chance to get to Georgetown... England fans won't have that chance because it's so late.

"One team knew that they were going to that semi-final and I don't think it's ideal at all."

Sky Sports' Nasser Hussain: "You can't have two semi-finals with two different playing conditions, where one has a rain day and the other one doesn't.

"The first one is made up over two days effectively or a day and a half. The second one, the England-India game, is made up over that whole day - it's 250 minutes that they can make up.

"We could rock up at 8am in the morning for a 10.30am start (local) and still be there at 10pm at night trying to finish off that game!

"The second semi-final is a 10.30am start because the players, the teams, the officials have to then fly to Barbados for the Saturday final.

"And it's given to India because of the TV audience in India, the biggest audience for the ICC [International Cricket Council]. Not just India, but Bangladesh, Pakistan and that part of the world.

"My thoughts are that the first part of the tournament seemed to meander along a little bit, with the long gaps... you could have got those games a bit closer together, rather than at the real business end have just one day between a crucial second semi-final and a final."

Has something similar ever happened before?

England's Women were dumped out of the 2020 Women's T20 World Cup after a washout in their semi-final against India due to heavy rain in Sydney.

Again there was no reserve day scheduled, allowing for India to qualify for the final by virtue of finishing top of their group, compared to England who were runners-up in theirs after suffering an opening loss to South Africa.

Hosts and eventual winners Australia - runners-up to India - appeared to be facing the same fate, with both semi-finals being played at the same venue on the same day on this occasion, until the clouds cleared sufficiently to see them beat South Africa to a place in the final.

How did England reach the semi-finals?

After England's hopes of progressing through to the Super 8s were hanging by the proverbial thread due to the Scotland rain-off and Australia loss, they then dismantled Oman - skittling the associate nation for 47 before completing the run chase in just 19 balls to, crucially, take their net run rate above Scotland's.

They then managed to beat the rain and Namibia in Antigua, comfortably winning a 10-over-a-side encounter by 41 runs on DLS after initially fearing a tournament-ending washout.

Even with those back-to-back wins, Buttler's side were reliant on Australia beating Scotland in their final match and they would have been jittery when the Scots posted 180-5 batting first and even more so when Australia needed 89 runs still from the final seven overs of their chase, before the 2021 champions ultimately romped home two balls to spare.

Having squeezed into the Super 8s, England truly arrived by dismantling hosts West Indies by eight wickets in their best performance of the tournament, chasing down a challenging target of 181 with 15 deliveries to spare thanks to an unbeaten 87 from 47 balls from Phil Salt.

A seven-run defeat to South Africa followed, despite a late revival from Harry Brook (53 off 37) and Liam Livingstone (33 off 17) threatened to see them over the line.

A thumping win over the USA was therefore required to ensure a semi-final spot and England duly delivered one as Chris Jordan bagged the England men's team a first T20 international hat-trick before Buttler (83no off 38) hammered his team into the last four as they chased down 116 inside 10 overs and with all 10 wickets in hand.

When are the semi-finals and final?

Thursday June 27

  • Semi-final #1 - South Africa vs Afghanistan, Tarouba, Trinidad and Tobago (1.30am)
  • Semi-final #2 - India vs England, Providence, Guyana (3.30pm)

Saturday June 29

  • Final - Bridgetown, Barbados (3.30pm)

Catch every match from the T20 World Cup, including the final in Barbados on Saturday June 29, live on Sky Sports.

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