World Cup 2019: India, New Zealand share points after another washout

India and New Zealand shared points after persistent rain forced the match to be called off without a ball being bowled at Trent Bridge.

Umpires Paul Reiffel and Marais Erasmus walk back after taking a final call on India-New Zealand match in Nottingham.   -  AP Photo

India and New Zealand stepped in with an all-win record so far in the World Cup and when the teams left Trent Bridge, their unblemished stature remained intact. Rains lent an ironic twist and washed out the contest without a single ball being bowled and the rivals, thanks to the no-result, shared the points at one each.

Earlier, a dull Thursday eased in with grim skies. A conch’s rumble was heard and the road adjoining the venue, was milling with Indian fans. The drums got thumped, face-paint was dabbed, placards were held high and Indian restaurants did brisk business. Rotis and balti chicken warmed fine cutlery, poppadoms were crunched with a dash of mango chutney and all of them were washed down with frothing glasses of locally brewed ale.

Read: Weather looks promising for India-Pakistan clash

There was a merry air among the followers but the weather gods preferred their melancholy. Umpires Marais Erasmus and Paul Reiffel did their rounds, staring at the pitch and quizzically peered at the damp spots on either side of the centre-square. The two gentlemen trooped in at 10.30 a.m., 11.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. but their scheduled 1.30 p.m. inspection was marred by a sudden shower.

In the press box, regular announcements were made about these appraisal-jaunts and weary sports writers, lost between boredom and smoke-breaks, broke into tired applause. The fans though were made of sterner stuff. Every time a television camera panned towards them, the decibel levels went up and “India jeetega (India will win)” cries ensued. Posters of Kohli and M.S. Dhoni were displayed and when Vijay Shankar and India’s fielding coach R. Sridhar, clad in windcheaters and with their cold hands tucked into pockets, sauntered onto the ground, a loud cheer emanated from the stands.

Meanwhile, near the commentary box, Sunil Gavaskar and selector Sarandeep Singh had a chat about the damp climate and discussed the possibility of more rain. It was that kind of day when eyes gazed at ominous clouds and the believers muttered their prayers. If there was any semblance of hope pertaining to a truncated clash, even that vanished once an afternoon liquid burst forced the rapid unfurling of umbrellas all around the fringes.

A frustrating day for fans with weather forcing yet another wash out.   -  Reuters Photo

 

All that remained for the die-hard followers was to congregate near the Indian team’s dressing room and yearn for a few selfies with some of the stars. And out in the middle, a camera man wiped the water off the drone camera. His work was done and it was time to retreat into an ancient pub or a warm room. But the final word had to come from Erasmus and Reiffel and it did when they officially abandoned their pursuit of a comatose contest at 3 p.m.

Kohli’s men will now head to Manchester for their Sunday’s clash against Pakistan. And as always the build-up has been laced with dollops of history, drama and angst besides the jingoistic promotional advertisements that lack class.