Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Rain & Cricket - a long term Relationship

Ireland took the field on Saturday 12th May for the first time ever for a test match. It was a historic day that marked the entry of the world's 11th test playing nation.

If it was not for rain, the historic day would have been a day earlier on 11th May, when Ireland's first ever test match, against Pakistan, was actually supposed to start.

Rain and cricket have a long standing relationship. It has been a savior for some teams, while it has played spoilsport for many others. It has left spectators wanting more, it has denied teams glory, and it has spoiled the day for TV channels, producers, and advertisers.

But I doubt that rain has ever changed the course of history books the way it did for Ireland. It moved their first steps into Test cricket forward by an entire day!

There is an interesting article on Betway about cricket and climate change, where the author discusses how climate change has impacted cricket in England over the years. Here is an infographic summarizing the contents of the article.

Here are two incidents where rain changed the course of cricketing history.

1. Pakistan vs England, World Cup 1992
With 9 points in the group stages, Pakistan edged out Australia and the West Indies (both with 8 points, to qualify for the semifinals of the World Cup in 1992. Pakistan's 1 point more than the Aussies and the Windies was on the back of a rain interrupted match against England.

Batting first, Pakistan were blown away for 74 runs. With the form that England had displayed during the tournament, they would have chased that total down without any fuss; however due to rain only 8 overs were possible in England's innings and both teams shared a point.

It was only because of that 1 point that Pakistan qualified for the semifinals and eventually went on to win the World Cup. Had it not been for rain, 1992 may have seen a different World Cup winner.

2. South Africa vs England, Semi Final, World Cup 1992
In the second semifinal of World Cup 1992, South Africa required 22 runs off 13 deliveries when rain came pouring down the SCG. Brian McMillan and Dave Richardson were at the crease and seemed to have the target within sights before the rain interruption resulted in a farcical end.

Strangely, once the rain ended, their target off 22 runs remained the same; however instead of getting the 13 deliveries that they were supposed to, they were told that the rule required them to face only 1 more delivery.

And thus ended the most farcical match ever in the history of World Cup cricket. Rain denied a true fairy tale ending for South Africa, who were taking part in their first ever World Cup after returning to international cricket after over two decades.

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