India vs South Africa: Dharamsala ODI washed out

It was the second match in less than six months to be abandoned at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium because of inclement weather.

Heavy rain had also lashed the hill town just after the two teams’ practice sessions on Wednesday, forcing the organisers to cover the entire playing area.   -  TWITTER (@BCCI)

As anticipated, continual drizzle ensured there was no play in the first India-South Africa One-Day International in Dharamsala on Thursday.

Much before the match was officially abandoned at 5.20 pm, the forecast of moderate to heavy rain had cast a cloud of uncertainty around the series-opener.

Wet ground conditions owing to heavy rain that commenced on Wednesday night and lasted until 3 am on Thursday delayed the toss meant to take place at 1 pm.

Thereafter, following spells of drizzle, a downpour that lashed the ground around 3 pm effectively dealt the final blow to the possibility of a rain-shortened match.

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The cut-off time for a 20-over contest was 6.30 pm. But the downpour that ended eventually around 3.45 pm left the three super soppers with too much to deal with. Though the dedicated 20-odd members of the
ground-staff worked relentlessly for the better part of the day, rain had the final say.

For the first time, after four matches at this venue, an ODI was washed out here.

This was also the second successive India-South Africa match called off owing to rain here. In September, the opener of the three-match T20 series suffered a similar fate.

Later, South African batsman Rassie van der Dussen echoed his team’s sentiments. “We travelled here last year and the same happened. We ran out and didn’t get a bowl. It’s a very scenic ground and you know,
that sets the view of the mountains, second only to Newlands. So it’s very disappointing, as a player, to come here, see the beautiful ground, the passionate fans and not being able to get onto the block.”

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But looking at the brighter side, he said, “I think it’s actually not a bad thing for us. We did a lot of travelling and took about three days to get to Dharamshala. So now, we got a few more days to prepare. You know, we only had one practice session before this match, which probably wasn’t ideal. So now we’ll have one or two more sessions.

Looking ahead, Dussen said, “We will be looking to keep that momentum going, obviously after the Australia series. We got to work hard, we got to really prepare ourselves as best as we can for the conditions that we’re going to face now.”

The teams now travel to Lucknow for the second match, scheduled on March 15.

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