The group stage of the 2020 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia ended on a disappointing note on Tuesday as the last two matches – Thailand vs Pakistan and South Africa vs West Indies – could not be completed due to rain.

These matches were at the Sydney Showground Stadium and what makes matters worse for the tournament is the fact that both the semi-finals on Thursday are scheduled to be played in the same city, where rain continues to be a threat.

The Sydney Cricket Ground is scheduled to host the first semi-final – between India and England – followed by the second semi-final – between defending champions Australia and South Africa – on Thursday. The first game will begin at 9.30 am IST and the second at 1.30 pm IST.

For Thursday, there is a forecast of 15-30mm of rain. The International Cricket Council has not kept a reserve day for the semi-finals and if the matches are washed out, India and South Africa will go through to the final since they had finished at the top of their respective groups.

Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts on Wednesday revealed that the ICC declined the request for a reserve day under tournament rules. “We’ve asked the question,” CA chief Kevin Roberts was quoted as saying on the radio station SEN.

“It’s not part of the playing conditions and we respect that. We’re optimistic based on the drainage at the SCG combined with a weather forecast that is not perfect but not terrible either,” he added.

According to the rules laid out by the ICC for the tournament, there must be at least a 20-over match with both sides playing 10 overs each.

“We’re really hopeful and planning for different scenarios tomorrow night but the important thing is getting our team ready to play a 10-over match, a 12-over match, an 18-over match or whatever it happens to be if it’s not a full 20-over contest,” Roberts said.

“It gives you cause to reflect and think about how you might improve things in the future but going into a tournament with a given set of playing conditions and rules, I don’t think it’s time to tinker with (the rules) as much as with an Australian hat I might love that,” he added.

However, an ICC spokesperson defended the decision, according to media reports, stating that adding a reserve day would extend the duration of T20 World Cup which is supposed to be “short and sharp”.

“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,” he said. “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.”

(With inputs from PTI)