Cricket’s archaic traditions and Sydney’s rain have left Aaron Finch’s fireworks in vain, washing away Australia’s Twenty20 series opener against Pakistan.
Frustrated Australia was 0-41 after just 3.1 overs in pursuit of a rain-adjusted target of 119 runs when rain hit the SCG late on Sunday afternoon.
With the match already reduced to a 15-overs-a-side affair, the covers came on just 11 balls shy of the five overs required to constitute a match.
At that point, Australia was already ahead of the par-score target of 33 required at the end of the fifth over if no wickets were lost.
Australia’s frustrations were amplified by the fact a 20-minute break had been taken for change of innings, after 80 minutes had already been lost to rain and with more bad weather forecast.
“If you’re cutting overs off the game and you still have a 20-minute break, it doesn’t make much sense to me,” captain Finch told Fox Sports.
According to the ICC’s playing conditions, the match referee has discretion on whether to shorten the break if he deems fit.
On this occasion, and with further rain forecast, that option was not taken by match referee Javagal Srinath.
“We asked the question on what the changeover would be, and it remains the same,” Australia’s vice-captain Alex Carey said.
It’s disappointing to be so close to what might have been.
“But it’s part of the game. We’re all aware of that. It’s one of those things we can’t change.
“I guess as spectators they would have liked the result. We understand it’s good and bad. We can’t change it.”
Finch had hit 37 of the Aussies’ runs off just 16 balls, after he launched off Pakistan quick Mohammad Irfan’s second over with three sixes and two fours.
The first six was pulled over square leg, before he hit an even bigger one in the same region off a fuller ball to help take the tally for the over to 26.
Mitchell Starc and Kane Richardson (2-16) had earlier led the way for Australia with the ball.
Starc removed dangerous opener Fakhar Zaman and hard-hitting allrounder Imad Wasim for golden ducks, while Richardson also struck early.
But Pakistan captain Babar Azam saved the tourists, helping them to rebound from 2-10 to 5-107 before the hosts’ target was revised.
Showing why he is ranked as the world’s best T20 batsman, Babar compiled a classy 59 from just 38 balls as Pakistan’s momentum was also stunted by rain.
“If the match continued for 20 overs we should have come up with 160 or 170,” said Mohammad Rizwan, who hit 31 off 33 balls.
The result means Australia cannot take the top spot in the world rankings from Pakistan at the end of the series.