Be it the southern end of the Subcontinent of north-east India, the rain hasn’t stopped chasing India. A thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon turned the World Cup warm-up game between India and England into a damp squib.
A drizzle started minutes after Rohit Sharma won the toss and elected to bat. It soon blew into a storm. The umpires finally walked out for a formal inspection at 5.30 PM - the scheduled innings break - and called the game off to the utter disappointment of the spectators who had hung around, hoping against hope for some action.
Long before the formal abandonment, both the teams returned to their hotels, sensing that the storm was not going wither down so easily. While the ground staff struggled to cover the pitch and the bowling run-ups, operational hazards made their job worse.
On Friday, the covers were rightly placed just outside the boundary rope. But sensing that the covers were hiding a part of the advertising billboards, the covers were placed beyond the signages on Saturday.
It meant the ground staff wasted additional time in first lifting the heavy covers above the billboards before placing them on the outfield. Despite the teams leaving the stadium, the umpires had to postpone the abandonment, considering the possibility of a 20-over-a-side content.
With a 7.30 PM cut-off, the umpires were informed that the ground staff will take at least 90 minutes before the ground is made fit to play. Once the rain persisted, the umpires were forced to abandon the game.
The storm also blew away some of the branded hoardings at the south end of the Assam Cricket Association stadium. Thankfully, with the spectactors having already taken shelter, there were no injuries.
Besides, the water outlets in the higher tiers also resulted in mini-waterfalls cascading down to the lower levels of the stands all across the stadium.
Despite taking the long road to Guwahati, India will not be too disappointed with the abandonment. Rohit had told the host broadcaster that the game was “just a formality”.
India’s contingent will depart for Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, where it will face Netherlands on Tuesday, the last day of warm-ups.
England, meanwhile, will hope for an improved weather on Monday when it faces Bangladesh in its last warm-up fixture.
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