Australia vs England match abandoned after rain in Melbourne

The game at the MCG was abandoned without a ball being bowled  (EPA)
The game at the MCG was abandoned without a ball being bowled (EPA)

England’s bid to get back on track at the T20 World Cup after their must-win match against Australia was abandoned without a ball being bowled in Melbourne.

Persistent showers at the MCG had washed out Friday’s earlier game between Ireland and Afghanistan and it seemed an identical fate would befall the Ashes rivals in their probable Super 12s eliminator.

While the rain abated just after a scheduled 7pm (9am UK) start time, the heavy downpours in Melbourne over the past couple of days had left the ground sodden and clear-up efforts proved to be in vain.

An initial inspection was held at 7.30pm (9.30am) before a follow-up 45 minutes later which led to, rather farcically, another examination, the announcement of which was greeted by jeers from the crowd.

Even though only five overs per side were needed to constitute a game, there were clear concerns about how safe it was underfoot for the players, and particularly the bowlers running in.

However, any worries were moot as another brief shower under the floodlights meant hands were shaken at 8.50pm (10.50am) on a frustrating night where both sides walked away with a point.

England will not look back fondly on their time in Melbourne as, having beaten Afghanistan at Perth, they suffered a shock five-run defeat against Ireland, with Wednesday’s finale shortened by a deluge.

Hosts and defending champions Australia had also won and lost once so another setback for either side would likely have ended their hopes of reaching the semi-finals via a top-two finish in their group.

While this was far from a satisfactory outcome, both nations live to fight another day, with Australia taking on Ireland at Brisbane on Monday with England facing New Zealand at the same venue a day later.