England out of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup as rain washes out semi-final against India

England are out of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup after their semi-final against India was washed out by heavy rain in Sydney without a ball bowled.

With no reserve day scheduled, Heather Knight’s side could only watch on from the pavilion as their title hopes went down the drain – regulations requiring both sides to bat for at least 10 overs for there to be a result.

While India qualify for Sunday’s final by virtue of finishing top of Group A, England are eliminated after finishing runners-up in Group B having lost their opening game to unbeaten table-toppers South Africa.

The same fate looks set to befall hosts and defending champions Australia, who were due to take on the Proteas in the second semi-final after finishing runners-up in Group A.

Their likely exit means Sunday’s final, to be played in Melbourne on International Women’s Day, will be contested by India and South Africa – two teams who have never reached the final before.

Explaining the decision not to include a reserve day in the schedule in the event of poor weather, an ICC spokesman explained: “The ICC T20 World Cups are short, sharp events where reserve days are factored in for the final.

“Allowing for any other reserve days would have extended the length of the event, which isn’t feasible. There is a clear and fair alternative should there be no play in any of the semi-finals with the winner of the group progressing.”

The current reserve-day regulations for the women’s game, mirror those in place for the men’s competition, which is due to take place in Australia from mid-October.

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But former England Women’s captain Charlotte Edwards criticised the format of the tournament, saying: “It has to be looked at in my opinion. This is a massive event for all of the players.

“There’s the opportunity for the players to play in front of 90,000 people at the MCG (in the final) on Sunday and, to have the four best teams going into the semi-finals, it just seems totally unfair.”

The outcome means that England’s wait for a second T20 World Cup title following their success in the inaugural competition in 2009 goes on.

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