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It's Already History's Wettest Cricket World Cup and Rain Threat for 5 of India's Next 6 Matches is Over 50%

By Fazil Khan

Jun. 17, 2019

Representative Image. Source: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi: India and New Zealand shared a point each after the match between the two teams at Nottingham was washed out on Thursday. With four out of 18 matches being washed out due to rain till June 14, this ICC Cricket World Cup being held in England and Wales has already become the wettest one since 1975 when the first such tournament was played.

Apart from the India vs New Zealand fixture, the other two abandoned matches in this World Cup were, Pakistan vs Sri Lanka on June 7 and Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka on June 11. There have been only two previous instances of a match being abandoned in a Cricket World Cup (an abandoned match is one where even the toss could not take place), one of which came way back in 1979 when a match between Sri Lanka and West Indies at The Oval, London, failed to take-off.

The second incident happened at the last World Cup in Australia where a game between Australia and Bangladesh couldn't take place.

Moreover, along with a 'no result' match between South Africa and West Indies, when the rain did not allow the game to be completed, the three washed out matches make for four 'draws', which is also the highest in any World Cup. Before this, a maximum of two games each had ended up in a draw in 1992 and 2003.

Could Rain Play Spoilsport in Upcoming Fixtures?

Including the four washed out matches (3 abandoned, 1 No Result), one-third of the tournament is already complete. All we are left with is almost one month of Cricket World Cup and 29 matches beginning Saturday, June 15. But as bad weather continues to cause concern among Cricket fans around the world, the forecast for the upcoming matches doesn't seem to be encouraging.

According to Accuweather.com, a commercial weather forecasting service provider, at least 10 of the next 29 matches have more than 60 per cent chances of precipitation or 'chances of rain', while six others have more than 50 per cent probability of rain.

Threat of rain playing a factor in the game also looms large over the much-hyped India-Pakistan clash in Manchester on Sunday, June 16, with forecasts suggesting a 64 percent chance of rain. In fact, out of the next six matches of the 'Men in Blue', three of them – against Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka – have an over 60 percent chance of rain, while two others are in the 50-60 per cent probability category.

Interestingly, all the matches, except one, with forecasts of rain showers are in the round-robin stage where there are no reserve days, if at all the match has to be called-off.

England's Tryst With Rain

This is the fifth time that the Cricket World Cup is taking place on the British soil. The first four occasions include the first three World Cups in 1975, 1979, and 1983, and another one in 1999. Other than this England has hosted the 2009 Twenty20 cricket World Cup, and the last two ICC Champions Trophy tournaments in 2013 and 2017.

All of these tournaments, with an exception of the 1999 World Cup, were held in the month of June, making it evident that it is probably the most ideal time of the year to hold the prestigious tournament in the country. The World Cup was hosted in May in 1999.

Barring 1979, no match was abandoned in any of the World Cups held in England before. However, in the recent past, rains have affected matches in the tournaments hosted over the last decade – World Cup in the shortest format of the game and the two Champions Trophy events.

In 2009, at least three matches were affected by rain in the T20 World Cup. These included a Scotland vs New Zealand fixture on June 15 in London where the match was reduced to seven over per side and an India vs Ireland match on June 10 in Nottingham where each team got 18 overs to play. The other match was between England and West Indies which the West Indians won via Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method where they chased a revised target in nine overs.

Similarly, in the 2013 Champions, six matches were affected due to rain with one of them – Australia vs New Zealand – being abandoned. The tournament also saw the final between India and England being shortened to 20 overs where India emerged successful. Again in the 2017 Champions Trophy, five matches could not be completed with two of them ending up in draws, while the remaining three decided via the D/L route.

Why Is England Even Hosting The World Cup?

Reactions to matches being washed out over the past one week has been such that Twitter is abuzz with criticisms of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for holding the tournament in England in the first place despite such bad weather conditions. The council in its defence has blamed it to "unreasonable" weather.

The social media outrage though, mostly due to the sheer love for the game, has failed to acknowledge the fact that the decision to hold the World Cup in England and Wales was not taken overnight. The ICC decides the hosts the mega-event on a rotational basis and England was finalised as the hosts of the 2019 World Cup way back in 2006. Hosts for the 2011 (Indian Sub-continent) and 2015 World Cup (Australia and New Zealand) were also announced.

The month of June usually witnesses light rain and spots of showers in England. Last year during the same month, the southern parts of the country where three of the four washed out matches were held – Bristol and Southampton – saw very little rainfall (less than 2mm in some stations), as per the British Met Office data. This was considered as a rather dry month compared with normal weather conditions.

So, all that can be said about the ruined matches is that it's just bad luck.