Asia Cup Rain forced a reserve day in the Super Four round of the Asia Cup between India and Pakistan on Sunday after only 24.1 overs of play.
Asia Cup India will resume on 147-2 on Monday in the 50-over contest after rain abruptly ended their innings following Pakistan’s decision to bowl first in Colombo.
After a previous group meeting between the two sides was rained out owing to rain in Pallekele, an extra day was added at the last minute to the Super Four clash – the only game to get the advantage other than the final.
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Rain in Sri Lanka, which co-hosts the tournament with Pakistan, has thrown the organizers for a loop. The tournament serves as a warm-up for the 2017 One-Day International World Cup Asia Cup.
Rain pulled the players off the field as Virat Kohli, on eight, and KL Rahul, on 17, were batting, and groundstaff worked valiantly to restart the game after the showers stopped.
The umpires appeared to be ready to resume play after three inspections and fans helped to dry wet patches, but rain intervened.
Skipper Rohit Sharma (56) and fellow opener Shubman Gill (58) got India off to a flying start, putting Pakistan on the back foot with a 121-run stand off 100 balls.
In the powerplay, when only two fielders are allowed outside the inner circle, the batsmen took aerial shots at the new-ball combination of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah.
Shaheen and Naseem both looked dangerous in their initial spells, with the ball zipping past the bat and one edge from Gill going between two slips.
In a 19-run over, Rohit blasted leg-spinner Shadab Khan for two sixes and a four off successive deliveries to rouse the Indian fans in a mostly empty stadium.
Shadab redeemed himself after the first drinks interval to send back Rohit caught out, and Shaheen returned to get Gill in the next over.
Scoring dipped as Kohli and Rahul looked to rebuild before rain intervened. Play will begin at 3pm local time on Monday with weather forecasts predicting another rainy day.
The reserve day also means that India will play host Sri Lanka in their next Super Four match on Tuesday at the same stadium. Coaches from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh had expressed reservations about the preferential treatment accorded to an India-Pakistan match.
“I was surprised at first,” Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood remarked. “However, we are not the organizers of the competition, so there isn’t much we can do about it.”
“To be honest, it will be a problem if the reserve day then provides points to the teams rather than someone else, but there is nothing we can do about it, so we will keep preparing and doing the best we can
If rain prevents play in the Super Fours matches between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, points will be divided.
The tournament final will be held on September 17, with a reserve day available in case of rain.