T20 World Cup 2022: Afghanistan, Ireland ‘frustrated’ after MCG washout

Both teams receive one point and Ireland, who upset England by five runs at the same ground on Wednesday, moves to second in the Group 1 table.

Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi and Ireland Captain Andrew Balbirnie chat with umpire Adrian Holdstock after their T20 World Cup clash was called off due to rain at MCG.

Afghanistan skipper Mohammad Nabi and Ireland Captain Andrew Balbirnie chat with umpire Adrian Holdstock after their T20 World Cup clash was called off due to rain at MCG. | Photo Credit: AFP

Both teams receive one point and Ireland, who upset England by five runs at the same ground on Wednesday, moves to second in the Group 1 table.

“It’s very frustrating,” Jonathan Trott said, a few moments after Afghanistan’s T20 World Cup fixture against Ireland was abandoned on Friday without a ball being bowled at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

This was Afghanistan’s second washout - exactly a couple of days after its last game against New Zealand, which, too, had a similar fate. Both the teams received one point, and Ireland, which stunned England by five runs at the same ground on Wednesday, is now placed second in the Group 1 table.

“After the New Zealand game, we thought no way it could happen twice as it was a must-win game for us. It is frustrating, and this is something that happens at the beginning of summer, and it’s really unfortunate,” Trott, the Afghanistan coach, said.

It is quite an irony that just about three and a half kilometres away from the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Docklands Stadium has a retractable roof. Being the only stadium to have such a facility, the Docklands - popularly known as the Marvel Stadium - is the home of the Big Bash League side Melbourne Renegades. “It is a frustrating thing as well that there’s a stadium down the road which has a roof on it. You certainly can play cricket there,” Trott said.

But the former England batter doesn’t want to have a backup venue option going forward. “Putting up a World Cup is huge. The ICC has put up a lot of diligence and effort into the whole process, and who would have turned down an opportunity to play two matches at the MCG - like we had scheduled? We thought it would be a spectacular game, but…”

“But this is the way it is. This makes the tournament unpredictable and exciting with regards to the matches coming up,” the Afghanistan coach said, making it clear that the team will now focus on its next game against Sri Lanka and try to be in the hunt for the last-four stage.

The ground staff had installed the ‘grow lights’ on the eve of the game, but that was of no use as the city witnessed relentless rain throughout the day. “These sand-based grounds get to a point where the mud is there, but the water doesn’t stay on top because it is also designed for players who wear boots. That’s the weather where you could very much have an AFL or whatever. But in cricket, it’s very different with spikes,” Trott said.

“The ground is very soft, and the umpires think that it’s not suitable for playing. Never mind, it’s still raining, but even if it stopped, it would have still struggled…”

He also revealed that when it rained the other night during its game against New Zealand, ‘the players were slipping although running in a straight line’. “You always have concerns, you don’t want injuries to happen. When we were warming up the other night, the players were slipping although running in a straight line. The spikes are different to football boots, so that’s the difference…” he said.

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie, too, expressed his disappointment. “It is very disappointing. We’d played good cricket and were looking forward to this. But we really can't do much about the weather,” he said.

“We tried to back up the win, unlike before, after the England game and turned up today but could not,” he said. The team travels to Brisbane on Saturday and will take on defending champion Australia on Monday. “It will be like a different country up in Brisbane. We want to push the champions…” the Irish captain said.

When both the teams flew down to Melbourne, they wanted to have some quality cricket at the iconic MCG. While Ireland had its moment of glory, this leg was quite a damp squib for the Afghans.

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