Storm clouds are gathering over Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign, with unseasonal Perth rain threatening to spoil what looms as a must-win clash for the defending champions today.
Australia need to defeat Sri Lanka at the WACA Ground to give themselves the best chance of advancing to the knock-out stage of the tournament, after dropping their first group game to India in Sydney on Friday.
Meg Lanning’s team have never been beaten by their eighth-ranked opponents in any format and while there’s no discounting the threat posed by hard-hitting Sri Lanka Captain Chamari Atapattu, Australia go into the match as red-hot favourites to collect their first two points of the campaign.
However, the Bureau of Meteorology was forecasting thunderstorms and up to 15mm of rain for today – more than the average total rainfall for the whole of February in Perth, which is typically the driest month in the Western Australia capital.
The precipitation is predicted to fall during the afternoon; a worry given the scheduled start time of 3.00 p.m. local for the Australia v Sri Lanka game.
A washout would see the teams split the points.
Australia, India and New Zealand are the sides most likely to be battling it out for the top two spots in Group ‘A’, with Lanning’s team the only one of the three yet to register a win after Sophie Devine’s White Ferns accounted for Sri Lanka at the WACA Ground on Saturday night.
Asked if she was concerned by the forecast, Australia Vice-Captain Rachael Haynes said: ‘Not really. I heard about that earlier today,” she said.
“You can’t really control those things and certainly at a big event like this I’d expect if there was rain around that the officials and the ground staff would do everything in their power to make sure we got a game in.”
“We face that challenge tomorrow, it’s not of any concern but we’ll make sure we play what’s in front of us and if the match is affected (by rain) we’ll be prepared for that.”
Haynes said the mood in the squad was upbeat despite the disappointing start.
“I think the squad’s in a good place and looking forward to the challenge tomorrow,” she said.