Jos Buttler believes England’s destiny is in their own hands at the T20 World Cup, even if there was “sadness” the elements meant a titanic clash against Australia at the MCG was washed out.
England and Australia had each started their Super 12s campaign with one win and one defeat so whoever lost this latest tussle between the Ashes rivals would have been on the brink of a group stage exit.
However, the players and a crowd of 37,565 were frustrated as the rain that has tumbled in Melbourne for the past couple of days left a saturated outfield which was deemed unfit to play on by the umpires.
While the rain abated just after the scheduled start time of 7pm local (9am UK), a couple of pitch inspections came and went and hands were shaken less than two hours later as both sides took a point.
The group is wide open with four teams on three points and the bottom two on two but England currently have a better net run-rate than Australia, which could be decisive if they win their last two matches.
“Australia v England at the MCG in a must-win World Cup match is as big as it gets in your career and they are the games you want to be involved in,” Buttler said.
“No matter what the result it’s something you want to experience as a cricketer and you don’t know how often those opportunities will come around. So there’s an element of sadness that, win lose or draw, we couldn’t play the match.”
He added to the BBC: “We know we are still in the competition and know, to a certain degree, we have our destiny in our own hands. There is still lots of confidence in the group.”
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England next take on New Zealand on Tuesday evening at Brisbane, where the long-range forecast suggests more showers are possible during the day but should have cleared by the time the teams take to the field.
Another abandonment or no-result could lead to scrutiny on the tournament, which is taking place in the Australian spring and during the La Nina weather phenomenon that leads to cooler and damper conditions.
“It’s naturally frustrating for all of us,” Buttler said. “Is it something you can look at and would you have to elongate the tournament too much? I don’t know.
“It’s quite a ruthless format which is fun. We all know that and accept it. But if you have multiple games affected by the weather it doesn’t give you as true a reflection of how you’d hope the tournament turns out.”
Buttler was unhappy with settling for a point on Friday night but insisted player welfare was paramount.
“We came here wanting to win the game,” Buttler added. “I’m no weather expert on Australia at this time of year but we all want to play full games of cricket. (But) the right call unfortunately was made.
“The outfield was very wet and there were some areas in the 30-yard circle that were not fit to play. As much as we all want to play cricket it has to be safe and it certainly wasn’t that.”
Their next outing against New Zealand is a rematch of last year’s semi-final, which the Black Caps won, and the epic 2019 50-over World Cup showpiece, where England prevailed on boundary countback alone.
“It would do well to live up to that one,” Buttler said. “We have two more games to play and we want to win those games to give ourselves the best chance to get through to the next round.”
There was a fleeting possibility that five overs per side might have been permissible, which may have been unfair with the stakes so high, but Australia head coach Andrew McDonald would have accepted that scenario.
“We were keen to play,” he said. “Whether a five-over game or a 20-over game the importance of the game and the two points was huge. We were keen to get out there whatever that game looked like.”
The inclement Melbourne weather – this was the third successive game washed out here – has led to the suggestion of taking matches to the Marvel Stadium, which has a roof facility and is a couple of miles from the MCG.
“Everyone likes to play at the MCG,” McDonald said. “Whether we should play at stadiums with a roof on it, that’s up to the scheduling.”