BULAWAYO: The crucial One-Day International (ODI) between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka at the Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo, on November 21 (Monday) was abandoned after heavy rain lashed the city and forced the umpires to call off the game. The rain relented after a while, but as the outfield showed little improvement, the umpires deemed the ground unsafe for use. Zimbabwe were 55 for 2 in 13.3 overs when the heavens opened up. The groundsmen weren’t able to clear the large puddles on the outfield sufficiently to facilitate resumption of play. In particular, the north-eastern side of the ground was water-logged. As there was no super sopper in place, it only compounded the problems for the groundsmen.
The two on-field umpires – Michael Gough and Langton Rusere – reckoned that the soft underfoot conditions would be unsafe for players. “We tried to probably give three hours for the outfield to improve with certain areas quite wet. The guys would have been in danger of slipping if we had played a shortened game,” Langton Rusere said. Earlier, after Zimbabwe opted to bat, Chamu Chibhabha and Brian Chari provided the home side a solid start before Nuwan Kulasekara prised Chibhabha. Chari too didn’t last long as he was run-out on the back of terrible mix-up with Craig Ervine. Within the next few overs, it started to rain heavily and the entire stadium was covered. Both teams picked up two points each from the abandoned game. Sri Lanka are placed second with seven points, while Zimbabwe are at the bottom of the table with four. The hosts, however, still have an outside chance of qualifying for the final, provided they overcome West Indies by a big margin and Sri Lanka slip to a defeat against the Caribbean side.