How Australia can reach final without facing a ball
ENGLAND face the prospect of having their World Cup dream shattered without facing a single ball of their semi-final match with Australia.
Bad weather dogged the early stages of the competition, with several matches rained out completely.
And with the forecast for Thursday looking decidedly damp, were the mouth-watering contest to go the same way, Australia would advance to the final by virtue of having finished higher than the hosts on the group stage ladder.
There is a reserve day built in to the program the following day. But the bad news for the English is that the outlook then is one of clouds and potential showers too.
According to the latest updates, Edgbaston, the Birmingham ground set to host the second semi-final, is a good chance to see some of the wet stuff at the back end of this week.
The more likely scenario than a full washout is that rain will truncate the match rather than rub it out, with 20 overs a side needed to make the match official.
In that eventuality England may even be grateful for their traditional summer of clouds and grey skies.
Should that happen, Duckworth-Lewis would come into play - which could play into England's hands given their ability to score runs quickly thanks to their battalion of freewheeling top and middle order batsmen like Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler.
It may be cowardly to pray for rain. But there would be a certain charm, such is the English's obsession with the weather, if the storms rolled in and rained on England's parade, to Australia's advantage.
THE POSSIBLE WEATHER SCENARIOS
1. Clear skies and the rain dodged.
In which case we'll have ourselves a match and may the best team win
2. Delays or interruptions to play
The semi-finals and final are to be treated in the same way as the 45 group match matches - if there are weather delays or interruptions the match officials will make every effort to complete the match on the scheduled match day.
They will use the extra time (120 minutes) and then reduce overs (down to the minimum of 20 overs per team) to try to achieve a result on the scheduled match day.
3. Original match day is washed out
There is a reserve day scheduled for each of the semi-finals and the final.
If the match does not reach a result on the scheduled match day, it will continue on the reserve day from the point that it was abandoned.
Play on the reserve day will commence at the same time as on the scheduled match day (10.30am), and the time available for the umpires to complete the game on the reserve day will be the scheduled hours of play (10.30am - 6.00pm) plus the available extra time (120 minutes).
4. Both days are washed out
If a semi-final ends as a no result even after the use of the reserve day, the team that finished higher on the group stage table will progress to the Final.
Which means, of course, Australia, not England.
5. And if the match is tied ...
A SuperOver will be used to determine the winner if a semi-final or the final ends in a tie.