Fans vent as Aus-England blockbuster abandoned… with alternate venue just up the road

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Rain, rain, go away.

Australia’s blockbuster, must-win T20 World Cup clash against England at the MCG, one of the most-hyped games of the whole tournament, was abandoned without a ball bowled, as Melbourne’s rain once again refused to relent on Friday night.

It means three of the five games at the venue this World Cup have been abandoned without a ball bowled, following similar scenes in Afghanistan’s match with Ireland on Friday afternoon and the New Zealand-Afghanistan match on Wednesday evening; while another, England’s shock loss to Ireland on Wednesday, was cut short and needed the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system to decide the result.

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While rain is a permanent threat to cricket around the world – the ODI World Cup in England in 2019 also featured regular washouts – one fact about Melbourne had fans particularly upset after the match was officially called off.

Just a few kilometres up the road from the MCG sits Marvel Stadium, the home of Big Bash League side the Melbourne Renegades – and, crucially, the sole cricket venue in the country with a retractable roof.

Yet the ICC didn’t schedule a single match at the venue, choosing instead to use the MCG and GMHBA Stadium in Geelong as its Victorian grounds for the tournament, despite a rainy October being heavily forecast months in advance.

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Former England captain Michael Vaughan took to Twitter to ponder why the alternate stadium, which is owned by the AFL, wasn’t utilised as a venue for the tournament, which could have enabled several games to be moved.

Rain has become a nuisance at this World Cup, as La Nina wreaks havoc up and down the eastern coast.

South Africa’s clash with Zimbabwe in Hobart earlier in the week was a source of much controversy, with the umpires allowing play to continue despite heavy rain falling and slippery conditions underfoot leading to several Zimbabwean players slipping over.

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But nowhere has been hit harder than Melbourne, with the state suffering its wettest October in 47 years. Flooding had already caused major property damage statewide, and things are only getting worse, with more rainfall recorded this week alone than its entire October monthly average.

While this latest match abandonment will almost certainly trigger yet more calls to move matches from the MCG to Docklands, one fan pointed out that it is now far too late.

The stadium will host India Fashion Week on Sunday, as well as the A-League match between Melbourne Victory and Newcastle next Friday.

There are, however, only two more games scheduled at the MCG for the remainder of the tournament.

But the ICC will surely be concerned that one of them, naturally, is the final on November 13 – no doubt they will be praying that the rain relents by then.

The next match at the venue is India’s clash with Zimbabwe on Sunday November 6, the final match of the Super 12s stage.

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