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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

rain halts play at Old Trafford ~ so what happens next !!

9th July 2019 – Old Trafford, Manchester – India Vs New Zealand Semi finals – in an Office, an young employee asks for half a day leave – Boss puts up a serious face .. the intermediary quips – you will have to hear more funny excuses, better leave them ~ no work can happen !!  .. ..  After all the rain, the iron-weight zing bails and the threatened menu of endless dead matches, the round-robin section of the Cricket World Cup got over  with England’s riches to rags to riches journey ..  interestingly today’s Semi-finalists – “ India and New Zealand ” lost to hosts England.  Australia beat them and is to play England gain the next Semis.  Sri Lanka and Pakistan who beat England in group matches are out of this level.

There were so many Asian teams – exactly half – India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghan.  The Afghanistan cricket story has been intriguing.  The relationship between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indian cricket is complicated – with most of the Afghanistan players learning their cricket as refugees in Pakistan, but the recent survival of Afghan cricket is reliant on the largesse of the BCCI, which has given them an adopted home ground and other help with basic organisation. There has been political tensions between Kabul and Islamabad. The UK authorities were caught short during the tie between Afghanistan and Pakistan in Leeds when pockets of violence broke out both outside Headingley, where a group of young men charged the gates, and inside the ground. It all culminated in a pitch invasion where floundering security men in fluorescent jackets were outfoxed and outnumbered.

Now @ 10.54 pm IST – it is raining at Old Trafford -  who knew a rain delay could cause so much of tension.  If the match were to resume and become a T20 for the chaser, it would a lottery for Kiwis.   At 10 am at England, Kiwi won the toss, Williamson called it a good surface and choose to bat !

India has a different combination, Chahal is back but not Shami.  The team reads :  KL Rahul;  Rohit Sharma; Virat Kohli (c); Rishab Pant (Reserve wk), Ms Dhoni (WK); Dinesh Karthik (extra wk); Hardik Pandya; Ravindra Jadeja;  Bhuvneshwar Kumar; Yuzvendra Chahal & Jasprit Bumrah – too bottom heavy – one bowler short. While – Kiwis look to have a formidable line up.  Ross Taylor was the second-best batsman in the world between World Cups 2015 and 2019. Martin Guptill averaged 50.01 through the same period; Tom Latham a none-too-shabby 37.86. – yet it has been Williamson who has scored much. 

Indian bowlers did extremely well, constraining NZ -  Bhuvneshwar got de Grandhomme with a clever slower bouncer, cramping him for room on the ramp/uppercut, and New Zealand were 200 for 5 in 44.4. Tom Latham and Mitchell Santner still to come- not a big score in sight. .. .. and when  New Zealand were 211/5 in the 46th over rain stopped play.   Indians are on top and would rue the rain, the Duckworth – Lewis method, if the play were to be of a much shorter duration.  If New Zealand's innings ends on 211 for five in 46.1 overs, the 46-over target for India would be 237. If India's innings is reduced to 20 overs, the target would be 148.  Wait, the regulations state that the umpires should try to get a result today. If they can fit in a 20-over India innings they will do so rather than trying to fit in a full match over two days. 

This is not the first time that India’s match is under the rain threat. The India vs New Zealand league-phase match was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled and the two teams had to share one point each.  If the match is washed out on Tuesday, it will be played on the following day, which is the ‘reserve day’.  The one good rule is – if there is no further play today (i.e. 20 overs cannot be bowled) – match will resume (yes resume not played afresh).  If the match is washed out on the reserve day too then India will automatically qualify for the finals courtesy of accumulating the higher number of points in the group stages.

The reserve day is included in the world cup schedule to give a fair chance to the teams playing in the semi-finals. If a minimum of 20 overs can be played by both the teams then the match will happen on the original day. However, if match officials decide that the conditions would not allow even 20 overs then, the match will go on to the reserve day. There is also an option of extending the match by 120 minutes but if even then, there is no result then matc will be continued on the reserve day from where it was left off. If reserve day for semi-finals fails to deliver a result due to poor weather conditions then the higher placed team will progress to the World Cup final.

Final- If weather obstructs play on both the originally scheduled day and reserve day for World Cup finals then, the World Cup will be shared by the two finalist teams. The tickets of the original match day will be valid for both the original match day as well

At the time of posting this, it appears there would be no further play today !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th July 2019 @ 22.55 hrs.

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