Weather a spoiler again

by Sa'adi Thawfeeq

3 July 1998

The vagaries of the weather put India in the final of the Singer-Akai Nidahas trophy ahead of world champs Sri Lanka, who now have to await the outcome of their final round robin game against New Zealand at the SSC grounds on Sunday to know whether they've qualified.

An Indian win yesterday at the SSC would have ensured a final with Sri Lanka. But the weather being what it is , lashed out so severely to force the India-New Zealand game to be abandoned as a no-result after just 31.1 overs, 75 minutes before lunch.

The start itself was delayed by 30 minutes due to wet ground conditions, but the umpires decided the match would go its full distance of 100 overs. However, the rains proved otherwise.

New Zealand choosing to bat first on winning the toss, reached a scratchy 128 for five off 31.1 overs before the heavens opened out accompanied by gale force winds to leave the ground staff with a battle on their hands to place the covers in their proper positions. By the time it was done, the ground had taken quite an amount of water and although there was provisions for the umpires to wait till 4.20 p.m. before ruling out play, they decided that conditions wouldn't improve to play the minimum of 25 overs.

The Kiwis once again displayed their frailty against spin with none of their top order batsmen being able to contribute a substantial score.

Skipper Stephen Fleming's brief but bright knock of 20 off 27 balls was the only spark in New Zealand's total, although Bryan Young and Craig McMillan made 26 apiece.

The Kiwis failed to put together any big partnerships and initiated their own downfall as they tried to force the pace. The Indians stuck to a fine line and length challenging the Kiwis to dare and hit across the line, a ploy which worked very well for them. Four of the wickets fell to the slow bowlers with Venkatesh Prasad taking one.

Yesterday's result left New Zealand still looking for their first win of the tournament. All their four points have been collected through abandoned matches. India by virtue of taking a point yesterday, went to the top of the table with six points as they have a better nett run rate than Sri Lanka who also have the same number of points, but with a game in hand.

Sri Lanka will need to beat New Zealand in the final league match to qualify for the final on Tuesday. For New Zealand to qualify they will not only need to beat Sri Lanka, but improve on their run rate considerably.

Source: The Daily News

Contributed by CricInfo Management

Date-stamped : 04 Jul1998 - 06:14