There will be some nervous looks skywards over the coming days in Melbourne with rain threatening the men’s T20 World Cup final between England and Pakistan at the MCG on Sunday, raising the prospect of the reserve day being needed and even a shared trophy.
There is currently a 95% chance of rain forecast for Sunday with between 15 and 25mm falling. “Very high (near 100%) chance of showers. The chance of a thunderstorm, possibly severe, with heavy falls possible,” the Bureau of Meteorology was saying as of Friday morning.
The reserve day is allocated on Monday, but that also has an uncertain forecast with again a 95% chance of rain and falls between 5 and 10mm.
For the knockout matches in the tournament a minimum of 10 overs per side is needed to constitute a match, compared to five overs during the group stages.
The first priority will be to complete a shortened match on Sunday if required, meaning the overs will be reduced before the reserve day is activated. If the game has started on Sunday but can’t be completed then it will resume on the reserve day from the position it was halted. Once the toss has taken place, the game is considered live.
If the game begins on Sunday and there is a reduction of overs but play does not have a chance to restart due to weather then the game will resume as a 20-over contest on the reserve day.
While only 30 minutes of extra time are allocated to the original day of the final, if the reserve day is used there are four extra hours available* with play starting on the Monday at 3pm local time.
“The Event Technical Committee (ETC) has increased the provision of additional playing time on the reserve day to four hours from the original provision of two hours (clause 13.7.3 of the Playing Conditions), in case more time is required to complete the match and get a result,” an ICC release stated.
“It may be noted that 10 overs per side are required to constitute a match in the knockout stage and every effort will be taken to complete the match on the scheduled match day. Every effort will be made for the match to be completed on Sunday, with any necessary reduction of overs taking place and only if the minimum number of overs necessary to constitute a match cannot be bowled on Sunday will the match go into the reserve day. Play on the reserve day will begin at 15h00 and would be a continuation of play from the scheduled match day.”
Aside from the South Africa-Zimbabwe game in Hobart which was also a no result, the rest of the tournament has largely escaped the rain during what has been a wet start to summer across the east and south east of Australia.
*GMT 1040 The story was updated after the ICC confirmed that there will be four extra hours, rather than two, available on the reserve day to complete the final.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo