The city of Derby woke up to a gloomy and chilly Wednesday, as the overnight rain refused to relent. The courteous smiles that the locals are generous with took a hiding, and the cricket took a beating too. The televised ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 game between New Zealand Women and South Africa Women at the County Ground was abandoned without a ball being bowled at 2:13pm local time. The two teams, who won their respective first games, split points and now have three each.
The square remained covered completely even as the match officials checked the wet outfield periodically throughout the day to take stock. The cut-off time to get a game in as per tournament playing conditions is 3:53pm, and the groundstaff had requested for at least two hours to get the field ready for play. Weather, though, had the final say.
The only action that took place was a game of hand tennis between the South African players on the concrete slab just outside the dressing room. The team of Sune Luus and Andrie Steyn seemed to have the better of Laura Wolvaardt and Moseline Daniels. Seated above them were a bunch of school kids who chanted ‘We want cricket’ everytime Langton Rusere and Paul Wilson – the two on-field umpires – made their way to the centre.
Still raining in Derby ☔️ pic.twitter.com/tqxhnxGjOP— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 28, 2017
No one would have liked the game to get underway more than Suzie Bates, the New Zealand captain who was scheduled to make her 100th One-Day International appearance. She now has to wait for their next game against Australia Women in Bristol on July 2 to reach the milestone.
Sun made a brief appearance soon after lunch, consisting of mushroom stroganoff and beef lasagna, was served. It was the first time that a few of the South African players, in their pullovers, stepped out to walk on the wet outfield. They posed for the photographers who waited patiently in the chilly weather to get some action to file.
New Zealand had arrived in Derby after Holly Huddleston’s 5 for 35, Bates’s 106 not out and Amy Satterthwaite’s unbeaten 78 in a nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka Women in Bristol. South Africa was made to work harder for its three-wicket win over Pakistan Women in Leicester. Chasing 207, it had an opening partnership of 113 between Laura Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee before a collapse, which had four run outs, left it needing 30 off the last five overs. Luus and Shabnim Ismail held their nerves to take the side over the line with six balls to spare.
It is too early to connect the dots, but South Africa would be the happier side from the result. It has lost 11 of their 13 encounters against New Zealand, and a point here could come in handy during the business end of the tournament. Like New Zealand, South Africa also have its next game on July 2, against Windies Women in Leicester.