Will Melbourne’s unpredictable weather impact the final?

In 1992, the same year England and Pakistan last met in a World Cup final, Australian-based New Zealand band Crowded House released one of their most famous songs, Four Seasons in One Day.

It was an ode to Melbourne’s unpredictable weather, featuring the line, “it doesn’t pay to make predictions.”

It is a lesson the current England and Pakistan teams have heeded 30 years on, ahead of Sunday’s T20 World Cup final in Melbourne, with horrendous weather predicted.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting 100% chance of rain with 10-20mm expected including “the chance of a thunderstorm, possibly severe with heavy falls.”

But nothing is ever guaranteed in Melbourne when it comes to the weather. England risked failing to reach the knockouts, after focusing on Melbourne’s unpredictable weather too much earlier in the tournament in the shock loss to Ireland at the MCG.

“Obviously, the Ireland match is a big disappointment for us as a team throughout this tournament, but certainly feels a long time ago now,” England captain Jos Buttler said on Saturday. “Being able to sit in this position on the eve of the World Cup final, I think we will have learned quite a few lessons throughout that game and actually, the lead-up into the game.

“The weather around Melbourne was dominating the whole tournament at that stage and was definitely a distraction at times.”

It was a blunt admission from Buttler and perhaps in part explained why England had bowled so poorly at the start of that game against Ireland.

The irony is, as much as they were distracted by the weather in the lead-up to that loss, they freely admit too they didn’t pay enough attention to the radar during the game itself, when they fell five runs short of the DLS par score as the rain began to fall.

“We know the areas we were short,” Buttler said. “That definitely hurt us. And I think we’ve seen a reaction to that game in the rest of the cricket we’ve played so far.”

Pakistan had their own experience with Melbourne’s weather in the lead-up to their epic clash against India, with fears the game would be washed out without a ball being bowled due to another foreboding forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology. But in the end, not a drop of rain fell that night during Melbourne’s wettest October for half a century, and the teams duked it out in one of the best T20 internationals ever played.

Again, ahead of the final, they are unperturbed by the forecast.

“We discuss the weather situation of course, but we don’t focus on it,” Pakistan captain Babar Azam said. “We’re focused on getting a full game in. It’s a World Cup final, so getting a part-game in or not getting one at all would be disappointing. We’re aiming to execute regardless of how long it is, but I’m really looking forward to getting a full game in.”

Pakistan’s vibes-over-tactics mindset has served them well to this point and gives them great comfort.

England too will take comfort from the knowledge that they have played a rain-shortened game in this tournament. They also played another in the lead-up to the event, against Australia in Canberra, giving them added recent experience of both setting and chasing in rain-shortened matches should the game be reduced to a 10-over affair, the minimum length needed for a result in the final.

But as Crowded House front man Neil Finn wrote, “finding out wherever there is comfort there is pain, only one step away, like four seasons in one day.”

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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