Wet weather may play spoilsport

PREPPING: Australian skipper Steve Smith snapped practising on the eve of the match against New Zealand at Dharamshala on Thursday. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

A wet Dharamshala greeted the teams and fans ahead of the Australia-New Zealand World Twenty20 encounter at the HPCA Stadium here. A crucial match no doubt but only if it happens.

Snow and rain in the distance cast a gloomy spell on the venue on the eve of the match and those associated with the event remained concerned with the inclement weather.

It would be a travesty if the match degenerates into a reduced-overs affair (minimum of five) given the status of the two teams — the exciting New Zealand and the ever-resilient Australia.

The trans-Tasman rival, healthy and yet fierce, stands transported to this beautiful hilly town.

Some of the Aussies and Kiwis have played here and experienced the joy of competing in the backdrop of the Himalayas. But the task in front confronts their ability to raise their game when the challenge becomes humongous.

A win here would ease the passage in a group where India and Pakistan loom large, with their well-known credentials when playing in the sub-continent. Afghanistan too has the ability to sink the best team.

It might well turn into a contest of robust play if rain plays havoc with the schedule. Notwithstanding the hard work that the ground-staff is known to put in here, the fact remains that weather controls the fate of the match. A five-over battle would mean swinging of the bats. ‘Hit the longest and strongest’ is the mantra in this format but a reduced-over match would entail nothing but cross-batted mayhem from the first ball.

The teams have some big hitters. Shane Watson, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner can produce spectator-scattering strokes even against good deliveries.

New Zealanders like Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill and Colin Munro can tear into the attack with ferocity. A full game at this stage looks improbable and that would be sad for both cricket lovers and the players.

Two classy teams gauging each other in a curtailed scenario is what this ‘cursed’ venue is likely to experience. The shifting of the India-Pakistan match had left the home fans despondent. And now this!

Only a die-hard fan would brave his way to the stadium on Friday.

[Source:- The Hindu]

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