Warwickshire hopes sunk by Glamorgan
Glamorgan 173 for 5 (Marsh 68) beat Warwickshire 61 for 4 by 22 runs (D/L method)
It was perhaps fitting that rain should be involved in Warwickshire's elimination from this season Friends Life t20. In a season where the club has been dogged by the stuff, it returned with its evil sidekick Duckworth-Lewis to end their lingering hopes of victory against Glamorgan at Edgbaston.
It is just the third time in the 10-year history of the competition that Warwickshire have failed to reach the knock-out stages. Just as pertinently, it ended the club's hopes of a money-spinning home quarter-final tie that would have mitigated for the losses incurred at the rain-ruined West Indies Test at Edgbaston, as well as the washed-out Australia ODI and the full-house T20 derby game against Worcestershire.
It is highly unlikely Warwickshire would have prevailed in this game, anyway. Glamorgan outplayed them in all departments and deserved to win. On a slow pitch offering a surprising amount of assistance to slow bowlers, Glamorgan paced their innings perfectly and stocked their side with cutters and spinners who preyed on the desperation of Warwickshire's batsmen and were rewarded with a series of outfield catches. Needing nearly 10 an over, the hosts managed just seven in the two overs before the rain came.
It was a result that aroused thoughts of what might have been for Glamorgan. No team in the country has lost as many games to the poor weather as Glamorgan - five - and, had it not been for an awesome innings from James Hildreth in their game against Somerset and an aberrational poor performance against Northamptonshire, they might well have progressed further.
Here they were grateful for the experience of Australia batsman Shaun Marsh and the 38-year-old Martin van Jaarsveld. After a careful start when Marsh scored 23 from his first 26 balls, his last 45 runs from just 21 balls, driving a rusty looking Chris Woakes for consecutive straight sixes and pulling another off Chris Wright. Woakes, who is highly likely to play in Tuesday's fifth ODI between England and Australia, conceded 50 in his four overs and Glamorgan scored 108 from their final 10 overs. It was enough to make any onlooker scratch their head and ponder Marsh's exclusion from the Australia ODI squad.
Van Jaarsveld impressed too, taking 17 off one Jeetan Patel over. He did survive one outrageous let-off, though, when Darren Maddy, at deep extra-cover and Jim Troughton, running back from point, collided in attempting a relatively straightforward catch off Wright. No doubt the noise of the crowd - the modest crowd - partially drowned out the fielders' calls but, for two cricketers of international experience, it was not an overly impressive piece of fielding.
It was a moment that summed up a disappointing performance from Warwickshire. With the quarter-finals beckoning, they conceded six wides, four byes when Richard Johnson, controversially selected ahead of Tim Ambrose and standing back to Woakes allowed one through his gloves, and failed to deliver a single yorker. They conceded around 30 more than par and never looked likely to overhaul their target.
As their director of cricket, Ashley Giles, said afterwards, however, the rain has made a mockery of this year's competition. "We only lost one full game," Giles said. "The rain has totally disrupted the whole competition. We conceded too many today, but it was still game on."
Giles admitted that the chaos to this season's schedule would revive calls for the competition to be spread across the season. "I've always been a fan of playing it in a block," Giles said, "and I do feel that helps the standard of our T20 cricket. But the whole issue will be talked about again now and, if commercial concerns are the main factor, you probably have to play it over the whole season."
Warwickshire, at least, have plenty to look forward to for the rest of the season. They are well-placed in the CB40 and the County Championship and return to action in both this week. Ireland bowler Boyd Rankin is fit to play and Rikki Clarke is fit to bowl, but Ian Bell, Jonathan Trott and, quite possibility, Woakes, will be unavailable due to England duty.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo