In a cruel twist of fate, Indian fans who had been lamenting the British weather and frequent showers in England during the World Cup were left praying for rain during India’s semi-final clash against New Zealand in Manchester on Wednesday.
This turnaround was caused by the stunning collapse of the Indian top order as in-form openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and captain Virat Kohli were sent back to the pavillion by New Zealand seamers within the first four overs. The score on the board: 5 runs. Dinesh Karthik was the next to fall and Rishabh Pant, who was building a steady little partnership with Hardik Pandya, was dismissed after that.
Chasing a target of 240 runs, the Indian team will now need a herculean effort from the rest of the batsmen in conditions that favour swing bowling. Not feeling too confident in the abilities of the Indian middle order, which has been in a bit of a rut, the fans turned towards the weather god, hoping that rain would save the day instead.
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The fans were hoping that in case the match cannot be completed on Wednesday as well, then the team with the better position in the group stage points table goes through to the final. Then according to the rule book, India would have qualified for the final on the basis of more points (15) than New Zealand (11) in the league stage.
But even that would not help now as India has already faced over 20 overs and in case it rains, the Duckworth-Lewis Stern method would come into play. The weather forecast for the next few hours also shows that rain is unlikely, with the British Met Department putting the chances of rain at less than 10 per cent.
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