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Cricket fans, brace yourselves for the bitter truth. The highly anticipated Pakistan vs India clash at the Asia Cup 2023 in Group A, scheduled at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, could be cruelly washed out. With a mere 30-minute drive from Kandy, this iconic match hangs in the balance due to relentless rainfall in Pallekele over the past two days.
A Gloomy Forecast
If weather apps are to be trusted, the situation might deteriorate further on the scheduled match day, Saturday, September 2. The lowest predicted rain percentage for Saturday is a staggering 91%, making the prospect of the match nearly impossible unless a miraculous turn of events occurs. Unfortunately, miracles involving sunshine and clear skies in Sri Lanka during August-September are wishful thinking, even for the most optimistic cricket enthusiasts.
Rainy Season Woes
There’s a reason why cricket matches are a rarity during these months. The heavy monsoon rains make it increasingly challenging for even Sri Lanka’s skilled ground staff to ensure a complete match. Pallekele, host to 33 ODIs to date, has seen only three matches during August-September. This illustrates the Sri Lanka Cricket Board’s aversion to hosting cricket during peak monsoon season.
The Unforeseen Hybrid Model
But why host the Asia Cup during this tumultuous time? It was a last-minute decision born out of necessity. The Asian Council had to opt for a hybrid model when it became evident that India would not receive government clearance to travel to Pakistan, the original hosts of the tournament. Despite unfavorable weather predictions, the majority of Asia Cup 2023 matches were shifted to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s Ominous Start
Ahead of the India vs Pakistan Group A clash, Sri Lanka is set to initiate their Asia Cup campaign against Bangladesh in a Group B match at the same venue. However, the prospects for this match look grim. Persistent rain and gloomy weather over the past three days have left the ground staff struggling to prepare the field. Multiple patchy areas mar the playing surface.
A Glimpse of Hope for Pakistan vs India
On a positive note, morning pictures have showcased bright sunshine. If the rain gods capitulate in the evening, this match could serve as a crucial indicator for the high-profile Pakistan vs India encounter on Saturday. Though it’s a 50-over contest, the ground staff will have ample time to prepare for a curtailed game.
Plan B: A 20-Over Contest
In a worst-case scenario, if the weather refuses to cooperate, be prepared for a 20-over contest between the arch-rivals. Failing that, India and Pakistan will share points. Pakistan, having already defeated Nepal – the third team in Group A, would secure an automatic berth in the Super 4 stage. India would then need to triumph over Nepal in their group fixture to advance to the next round.
The fate of this much-anticipated clash rests in the hands of the weather gods, and cricket fans worldwide can only hope for a miraculous turn of events.
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