WC 2003 - Bacher defends lack of reserve day for preliminary ties
Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2003, 5:38 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Rain seals Pak's fate, helps Zim through to Super Six
Johannesburg: The washed out World Cup Group A match between Zimbabwe and Pakistan in Bulawayo on Tuesday was the latest example of how rain, cricket's oldest unpredictable factor, has been a key factor at this tournament.Pakistan needed to win and then hope its run rate was superior to both that of its African hosts and England in order to go through to the Super Six.But the two points for a no-result ensured it was Zimbabwe who went on to the second phase.However, it was the exit of host South Africa following its dramatic tie with Sri Lanka on Monday that really re-opened the debate about reserve days.A Durban downpour ended the game with South Africa one run short of victory under the Duckworth-Lewis system used to recalculate scores in rain-affected matches.The tie knocked out South Africa, which needed a win to progress, and meant New Zealand went through.But World Cup executive director Dr Ali Bacher, a former South African Test captain, defended the lack of reserve days for preliminary matches later on Tuesday."This is the biggest World Cup ever, with 54 scheduled matches involving 14 teams playing in three countries. Of the 43 days from the opening ceremony to the final, cricket is due to be played on 33 of those days." He said."Logistically, it would have been impossible from an organisational point of view to have included reserve days for matches in the group stage. "As it has turned out, only two matches of the 40 played so far have been rained off. These were the fixtures between West Indies and Bangladesh and today's game between Zimbabwe and Pakistan."And the International Cricket Council (ICC) also confirmed that the four other rain-affected matches would not have benefited from reserve days as, in each case, the minimum 25 overs per side had been completed for a result to be achieved under the Duckworth/Lewis method for weather-affected games."Reserve days would not have been used in any of these cases," an ICC statement said.However, the world governing body confirmed that reserve days will be available for all Super Six and semi-final games, while the final has been allocated two reserve days, as a contingency against prolonged bad weather.South Africa's exit was the second time a rain rule had worked against it at the World Cup.Back in 1992, the regulation then in force in Australia left South Africa with an impossible 22 to score off the last ball for victory in its semi-final against England.