MORE ALARMING: Clouds gather over India-Pak tie at Manchester
The India-New Zealand tie at the Trent Bridge stadium was abandoned late on Thursday as the rain took Nottingham to the cleaners literally and the players, along with a motely crowd in the stands and the media contingent in the Press box, waited for sunshine Godot to break out of the laden skies, quite unsuccessfully.
The washed-out scenario means India has lost one point and come to a tally of just 5 from three games as opposed to the Kiwis who will continue to be on the top with seven points from four games, having won all the three matches they played before India.
This would be the fourth match in the tournament to be abandoned, with the ICC turning down requests for reserve days in the preliminary round on grounds of logistics issues and prolonging an already stretched tournament. The other teams to have suffered on the points tally because of weather conditions are Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies and Sri Lanka. Washouts have particularly upset the applecart Pakistan which is now staring an early ouster if it loses the match against India in Manchester on June 16.
Incidentally, Manchester, too, is showing up on the risky weather chart on the blockbuster Sunday with intermittent shower and sunshine forecast for match day. So, the more alarming thing now for not just the ICC but also India and Pakistan is the precipitation gathering around Manchester where the humidity will be 70 per cent and chances of rain mounting to 53 per cent around 2 pm, impacting the marquee event and giving India more than Pakistan reason to worry about a compromised points table in case rain manages to play spoilsport, or the match gets slashed in overs or the Duckworth-Lewis tenet comes into play. Abandonment is as tricky as a shortened or D/L hit match for either team. Losing yet another point to weather will mean India will have a narrower window for a bad day at work.
However, as India fielding coach Sreedhar said, “the outfield at Trent Bridge resembled a skating rink so there was no question of risking injuries,” even though he admitted that the momentum gets upset with such breaks. “To be waiting in the dressing room, to switch down but not switch off, is highly frustrating for the players,” he added.
Not that New Zealand, who are table toppers for now, having started early in the tournament, are any less upset with the break in playing schedules. “We would have loved to have played India. They're obviously going hot and we feel as though we're playing reasonably well as well, so it would have been a nice match-up. Having said that, It's quite ironic that our last four trainings have all been indoors. It's just what we have to deal with and we try to pride ourselves on our adaptability. The first thing we're going to do is have a couple of days off. We don't play again for about six days now, and it's important that we manage the break,” Kiwi coach Gary Stead said.
The rain rules of the tournament allow the match to be cut to a minimum of 20 overs. The umpires have the discretion of extending extra time to up to 75 minutes beyond the scheduled play time and to another 75 minutes conditions permitting.
Earlier in the day, in their bid to save the match somehow, the umpires kept on their inspection rounds till 3 pm local time before announcing that that the match had been abandoned. There was not much activity in the ground other than the umpires inspecting the ground four times and then anointing yet another time for yet another inspection and the ground staff working out their muscles with the heavy covers pulling them off and on while airing the pitch and draining the outfield. Even the extra super-soppers ordered in on Wednesday stood haplessly across the afternoon with the drizzle in no mood to relent and the sun peeping in just for a few minutes.