India won the toss and elected to field
Sourav Ganguly has walked out with the trophy, and the dignitaries are gathered around. The teams walk out for the national anthems. Shafqat Amanat Ali will sing Pakistan’s and Amitabh Bachan will sing India’s.
“Pinpricks of light all around the stands as the flags come onto the ground and mobile camera flashes go off,” says Karthik.
Safwan: “All people saying sami’s line and lenght hasn’t been upto the mark have not seen the previous matches he has played. He has been brilliant apart from the two no balls he bowled. Sami’s international t20 record is the best among all other current pakistani bowlers”
Toss, 8.10 pm Dhoni tosses, Afridi calls heads, India wins. Dhoni chooses to bowl first. India are playing the same XI that lost to New Zealand. I’ll have news of the Pakistan team for you as soon as I know.
Pakistan have left out spinning-allrounder Imad Wasim and are playing fast bowler Mohammad Sami.
Suman Dustakar: “Interesting reply by Afridi to nasir when he asked what you wanted to do if you had won the toss, he said “you know wat i wanted to do”, but afridi I dont knw wat u wanted to do, can you please tell me?”
FaZi: “@Suman, He will bat first 🙂 & i think dropping imad is not a good decision, Sami has got pace but his line & length is not good at all since last many matches. Let’s hope he have a good day today.”
Zuhaib Qureshi : “Why do they keep playing Mohammad Sami. All he does is get thrashed around the ground. And today will be no different I am sure. Imad in the last few games has been good. ”
Sushil: “Reasons for bowling first: 1. Slightly humid ground ball will not race away to the boundary for first few overs. 2. Covered wicket will offer something for the quick bowlers initially 3. Always an advantage to bat second with rainy weather and possible interruptions. 4. In shortened games batting first you never know what is a par total.” Sound logic.
8.05 pm It’s been frustrating for sure, all these delays – natural and man-made – but let’s put that all behind us now. We have a game! Toss in five minutes, a start at 8.30 pm, and an 18-over contest. The Powerplay will be five-overs long, and three bowlers can bowl a maximum of four overs each.
7.55 pm This is getting really frustrating now. I don’t see why the toss couldn’t have happened by now, given that most of the covers are off.
Syed: “Any inspection? Any Toss? Any News? When are they going to start?” Nothing official yet. The players are going through their warm-up drills. The last shot of Dhoni had him in his practice kit.
Shiba: “George, Can you put the status as Match delayed by Speeches.”
FINALLY!! Toss at 8.10 pm, start at 8.30pm, 18-overs a side. I wonder if some time is still being kept for the national anthems.
Burg: “All the ceremonial stuff would’ve been acceptable subject to no overs being lost. But with 2 overs a side removed, one really questions why the need for all the formalities…”
Keshav: “Most ridiculous thing I ever heard, 2 overs docked because of the speeches? Couldn’t they have just had the toss as soon as the covers were coming off? Instead they waste time with speeches and the platform going up and coming down. ”
Karthik Sukumar: “I believe the rules say that the pitch and the field has to be completely ready for play before the toss takes place. There were a few covers on the field and the pitch was being rolled. It’s unfortunate, however the presentation could’ve be avoided completely or shortened. ”
7.45 pm Imran Khan is now giving a short speech, appreciating the welcome Pakistan have been given in Kolkata. He hopes for a great game and that the result is the same as when he last played at Eden Gardens.
Tendulkar strolls up for his turn at the microphone. “Nice to see the stalwarts from Pakistan, we welcome them here … we hope for a fantastic match, let’s enjoy cricket above all.”
One last cover remains on the field and it is beginning to come off as well, and the Super Sopper is doing its thing. Can we stop with the speeches and get this show on the road, already? Surely they could have had the toss by now.
Right, the felicitations are over. Let’s dismantle that platform.
Vamsi: “Do they really think the spectators appreciate all this when the match is already delayed ? Don’t they care about what the fan feels ? Speeches, really ? There is certainly no occasion nor reason for this too. Just imagine if rains again now.”
Ganesh: “This ia infuriating. ICC should have a crackdown because of such wastage of time. This could have well been done after the match”
Moloy: “Why cant they just have the toss indoors? And please please tell me they wont be waiting 30 mins after the toss to start?”
DanielAlexander: “Can we please get on with the game? ”
Neeks: “Don’t worry George. Let everybody have there share of joy. Without the efforts of these guys no match would have shown up. This not a match but a gesture of friendship.”
Manohar: “With all due respect to the legends and dignitaries, couldn’t this function take place at the halfway break or after the match? Unnecessary delay to an already delayed game.”
7.40pm While the covers are being removed, the chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee is honouring former Pakistan captain and politician Imran Khan on the field by draping a shawl around him. Wasim Akram is next. “Poor Allan Lamb. His 92 World Cup dismissal comes up on the big screen.” says Karthik. And after Akram, is Waqar Younis and Sunil Gavaskar. And then Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar.
Amir: “I think this katch is getting delayed now without much reason.”
Siddhesh: “What is baffling is how Bangladesh cricket board, with a fraction of the budget of the BCCI has managed to prepare stadiums with excellent drainage, as seen in the recent Asia Cup finals. The neglect shown towards not improving drainage facilities for such international events, and at a metropolitan city at that is not ideal. ”
Naresh Gupta UP: “Why is there a presentation ceremony going on when the match is delayed. I am in France and eagerly waiting for the toss!”
kainkareswar: “In Ukraine,Indian,Bangladeshi and Pakistani students have arranged a public screening but unfortunately the game is delayed, hopefully we at least get a game.”
Reeza Seedat: “MBA studies is put on hold for these few hours of action! Rain rain go away! All the way from South Africa”
Siddhesh: “Well, at least they aren’t waiting for the covers to come off totally before conducting such events. Given that this is already a shortened game, the least the officials should do is to not shorten it further.”
7.30 pm “I can see Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar and Wasim Akram near that temporary platform,” says Karthik from the ground. Hopefully they will be able to dismantle it toute suite as soon as it has been used for whatever purpose.
Sashank: “A lot changed with cricket technology during last decade , but nothing to dry the field quickly.”
Mazhar Shehzaad: “Gotta feel for Cricinfo comm boys. The match hasnt even started yet and look at all the commentary. Pity your fingers. Kudos! #LoveFromPakistan.” Nothing is harder than Gayle and Samuels bowling in tandem.
Adil Rashid: “We (Indian and Pakistani students) have arranged a huge multimedia projector for this match here in China, and hope the effort will not be ruined by rain. ”
Anil: “The effort being put in by the ground staff at Eden Gardens is commendable, that being said, with the technical advancements the game has had over the years, one often wonders why the turnaround time at stadia across the country is still long, I believe that as much as it is important to increase the capacity of the stadia, it will be nice to see more effective methods in reducing this tedious process.”
7.22 pm The process of taking off the covers is ongoing. The pitch is being rolled, the creases have been marked. The Super Sopper is supersopping the ground. It’s going to be a delayed start but hopefully they will do everything possible to have a full game.
“The Indian players are out now, doing some low-intensity ball tossing among themselves,” says Karthik. “Lala and Waqar have also been milling about for a while.”
JandhyalaVenkat: “It is sad to see several of the ground staff walking bare feet. I hope BCCI can look into this to improve. World is watching.”
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RiKool: “The streets in my neighbourhood are looking deserted. Shops have shut down. Its all building up for THE CLASH”
7.12 pm “Two-thirds of the covers are either off or in the process of coming off. The sponsors’ signs are being unfolded behind the run-up area,” says Karthik from Eden Gardens. “And some sort of platform is being erected. For all the preliminaries, I suppose.” Don’t tell me they are going to delay the game any further than necessary because of ‘functions’.
Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan is going to sing the Indian national anthem. For Pakistan, it will be the singer Shafqat Amanat Ali.
Prakhar: “What is the need for all these ‘functions’? After all this is a IND-PAK match and we all want this game to start right now. The teams should have the toss in dressing room and should not waste time on that too.”
7.02 pm On the far side from the press box at Eden Gardens, the Super Soppers are still clearing the covers. We have just ticked past the scheduled toss time.
“Off go the last layer of covers from the square,” says Karthik from the ground. “The umpires are out in the middle, 8.50 pm is the cut-off time for losing overs, apparently.”
6.55 pm More good news from Eden Gardens. “Basically, the ground has been cleared in the bowlers’ run-up areas at this end. And the ground looks great from here,” says Karthik Krishnaswamy. “They’re going to clear the wide long-on area next, I think.”
The toss looks set to be delayed, though. It is scheduled for 7 pm local time. Our analysis show Match Day – with Dravid, Mahela and Ian Chappell today – is going to go live at 7 pm. you can watch it on this scorecard page by refreshing it, the player will appear on the top right on the web.
Ko123: “Around 4000 people outside Melbourne cricket ground for this epic match with Pakistan and Indian shirts ”
Lokesh: “The match has been called off. Pakistan win by 2 runs (D/L). The Pakistan Women players indulge in raucous celebrations.”
6.45 pm The stands, as you’d imagine, are pretty much packed. Though not entirely, just yet. It isn’t raining at the moment and the covers are slowly coming off. The ones near the straight boundary at the press box end.
Naman: “Does drainage even matter if they covered the whole ground? Surely water is not supposed to seep beneath covers? It must be like the rain never happened.” Yes, if the covers have had no leaks, then the ground should be dry once they are removed.
Maddy M: “Ronak comments, only reminds of Leo’s Oscar speech…. “Let us not take this planet for granted; I do not take tonight for granted.”
6.38 pm “Huge cheer as the central cover goes off once again,” says Karthik. “They’re just lifting the edges to see what the surface is like underneath.”
“I can see ground,” says Jarrod. Ground at Eden Gardens hasn’t been seen before now, today.
Karthik: “The cover over the run-up area at the press box end is beginning to come off now. And there’s another cover below that as well. So it seems like the ground should be pretty dry once the covers come off.”
Sabahat: “Meanwhile pakistani channel broadcasting imran khan conversation with umer akmal. What a sight to see legends supporting their teams at ground”
Karthik Sukumar: “The most important thing over here is having the complete quota of overs. A shortened game would be unfair on both the sides and the crowd. Let’s hope for a cracking game!”
Abdul: “I can imagine george sitting behind his computer sipping coffee reading our comments.. what a peaceful life.” Tea today, and some coconut rocks and dodol thanks to our Sri Lankan correspondent Andrew Fernando.
6.32 pm “No rain, groundstaff still clearing the water off the covers,” says Karthik. Jarrod says it was raining 30 seconds ago, so it’s all very unpredictable at the moment at Eden Gardens.
Tharun Raj: “Most Indians are now worried about drainage, Not in their home or colony but at Eden Gardens. :P”
Adnan Akhtar: “Rain in Kolkata, rain in Delhi! Can someone please turn off the tap?”
6.20 pm “Raining again,” says Jarrod Kimber, who’s also at Eden Gardens. But it is mild. “But the groundstaff and Soppers are busy at work,” says Karthik.
The live discussion with Rahul Dravid and Mahela Jayawardene is going on right now. Head to our Facebook page. And Mahela and Dravid will also join Ian Chappell on our live Match Day show at 7pm, which you can watch right here by refreshing the scorecard page.
6.12 pm Pakistan women stumbling against India women in Delhi. They need 20 off 24 balls with four wickets in hand. There is rain in the air in Delhi, it’s drizzling at the Kotla. Covers coming on. Pakistan are just ahead on the D/L equation.
However, the rain has stopped in Kolkata.
Nikhil: “@Maulika – I would rather replace Hardik Pandya with Rahane. Yuvraj’s presence is always a threat to the opposition. Hardik Pandya is a bit overhyped in my opinion. We need more experienced players out in the middle.”
6.05 pm “Close to stopping now,” says Karthik Krishnaswamy. “It’s pretty cool to watch the Super Soppers. When they’re moving around on grass, it’s hard to tell how powerful they are, but they leave a more or less dry stripe as they move over these covers.”
Imran Panjwani: “Here is some stat before the match ‘Ashwin need 3 wickets to become first indian bowler to take 50 wickets in T20 International, Ahmed Shehzad need 7 runs to 1000 runs milestone, Boom Boom Afridi need 5 wickets to become the first international player to take 100 wickets in T20 International and Dhoni need 18 runs to make the 1000 Runs in T20 Internationals.”
Mounika: “Will Dhoni change the team today? Can Rahane please play in place of Yuvraj?? Either way Dhoni is not using Yuvraj for bowling so much and given Raina’s performance against NZ pretty sure he will continue to bowl”
5.55 pm Argh, the rain has begun again, I’m afraid. Not heavy, but heavier than drizzle. Nonetheless, the Super Soppers are rumbling around near the boundaries.
Have you read this interview with Shahid Afridi? “I’ll tell you something from the heart. My father and family have really given me a lot of support. They have never let me fall. Their prayers have been with me throughout. My real strength is my awaam [public]. My awaam, in every difficult time, has supported me, whether I took a panga [picked a fight] with the board or anyone. I’ve always stood for my players and the truth when I was captain, whether I had issues with Vicky bhai [Waqar Younis] or Ijaz Butt [former PCB chairman]. The awaam has always given me such support that I can never forget them. They have been my strength.” I’m going to miss Lala once (if) he retires.
vinay: “Does Cricinfo offer any prize rewards like fb for pointing some flaw? I see that the IndVsPak rain updates are visible on Desktop espncricinfo link, and android app, but the rain comments aren’t visible on my iPad app. I accept any sort of rewards; publishing this doesn’t count mind you.” Are you going to be watching on all gadgets during earth hour, too?
5.45 pm Here’s the latest update from Karthik Krishnaswamy at Eden Gardens: “It has almost stopped raining. Just the stray droplet. And that central cover is being removed. Underneath are more covers. Like the end of a Scooby Doo episode.”
FaZi: “George, LOL, if you have nothing to do why you don’t post each & every comment & we have our very own pre-match analysis. You never posted my comment.” I sort of dug a hole and fell into it.
5.40 pm They’re beginning to sweep water off the central cover over the pitch and the square. It’s still drizzling, but growing gradually lighter.
sunil: “This is just a thunderstorm. It will pass. Game on!”
Aquif Shaikh: “I’ve never seen Cricinfo provide Rain updates more frequently than Today. Feeling the pressure?” Pressure, what pressure? As Keith Miller memorably said: “Real pressure is when you are flying a Mosquito with a Messerschmitt up your arse!” I just have nothing else to do.
5.35 pm Some mildly better news from the ground. “The rain definitely has reduced in intensity now. People are moving back down from the backs of the stands to the less protected fronts,” says Karthik.
MA: “Hourly forecasts predict that the rain should stop in the next 2 hours, which means that by 7:30 it should stop raining. If by some miracle, the ground is readied in the following half an hour, i.e by 8:00, we could have a full game as there are no predictions of rain during the match….fingers crossed! ”
5.30 pm It’s more or less the same. Perhaps slightly lighter. That’s the word from the ground.
5.20 pm Still raining. “So I was here last year for a KKR-Royals IPL game that was rained out,” says Karthik Krishnaswamy from Eden Gardens. “This time, they have new covers – white rather than blue – that I’ve heard were brought in from the UK only last month or thereabouts. And the ground also has an extra Super Sopper.” So the aim is to not let any water get on the ground, which is good because the drainage isn’t. It will be a task to get the water off the covers though.
Viral: “World richest board. One of the Biggest events in cricket. one of the biggest ground in world. Surely BCCI can make better efforts in arranging better drainage system for this ground after last year’s IND-SA match.” Well the rain has to abate first.
5.15 pm Thunder, lightning and heavy rain now. Looks ominous and the drainage at Eden Gardens isn’t the best. However, the entire ground is covered, but that means it will be a massive task to get all the surface water off, once (if) the rain eases.
S Dutta: “Actually Kolkata starts to become very muggy round about this time. So I am not sure if the folks sitting on the covers are ‘suffering’ or ‘enjoying’ the rain. I wish I could be one of them, for a day like today (Indo – Pak match)!!!” I’m sorry but the least that can be done – if they have to stay out in the rain – is to provide protection against it in some form.
And in news just coming in. Big blows for Bangladesh: Taskin Ahmed and Arafat Sunny have been suspended from bowling by ICC for illegal actions.
5.05 pm It has begun to rain heavily now but the groundstaff continue to sit on the covers, they are basically weighing them down on the edges so that the covers don’t blow away in the wind. The entire ground is covered. And the groundstaff do not have umbrellas or raincoats, according to Karthik who is at the venue, which is just ridiculous considering the job they are doing.
Sibi: “Kudos to the BCCI and ICC who scheduled matches without looking at the weather forecast ”
5.00 pm “It’s really windy,” says Karthik from Eden Gardens. “The covers are rippling despite the groundstaff sitting on them. It’s begun.” He means the rain.
Aravind: “Ticket scramble aside, get to the big picture George – if this is a washout, are India eliminated? Guess it being an Ind-Pak game, I’m more antsy than usual!” I don’t think India are out, but they could be dependent on other results going their way and net run-rate.
4.55 pm The entire playing area is under covers at Eden Gardens. The groundstaff are actually sitting on the covers where one sheet meets the other, to keep them in place. It is dark overhead with flashes of lightning. There is drizzle in Kolkata but none yet at Eden Gardens. Rain seems imminent though.
Taha Rehman Sid: “This feedback is sent 10 hours before the match. Why cant you guys start commenting on matches like these 10 hour before they are supposed to start. There are people waiting!” I appreciate the enthusiasm, but I think we were working on last night’s games that long ago!
4.45 pm Right, after all that drama – Will Pakistan go to Dharamsala, or wont they? Will Pakistan come to India at all, or won’t they? Why can’t India just give them the assurance they need already? – we better have a cracking game at Eden Gardens. Anything else will be such an anticlimax.
The scramble for tickets for this match hasn’t been easy – it never is for India-Pakistan, is it? – and hopefully, hopefully all those efforts will not be for nothing, because it is not looking good in Kolkata.
In the early afternoon Karthik Krishnaswamy, one of ESPNcricinfo’s reporters at Eden Gardens, said it was sunny and humid. Then at 4.25pm, he sent me a message saying it had become grey and muggy and that the entire ground was under covers. At 4.35 pm, he said, “Lightning just happened,” and that it was darkening rapidly.
That’s the bad news. What’s worse is that the drainage at Eden Gardens is mediocre.
Commentator: George Binoy
Scorer: Sanjay Murari
The build-up to the India-Pakistan clash began once Dharamsala was named as the venue on December 11 last year. Political tensions and security concerns in the weeks preceding the World Twenty20, however, left the administrators and fans in a limbo: ‘Will they, won’t they?’
On March 9, a day after the start of the tournament, the impasse was finally over and the match was tipped over from Dharamsala to Kolkata. On the eve of the game in Kolkata, R Ashwin told a horde of reporters that the India-Pakistan rivalry was “probably bigger than the Ashes”.
India and Pakistan had provided a precursor during the Asia Cup last month when Mohammad Amir’s fire was countered by Virat Kohli’s ice. India grooved to the Asia Cup title; Pakistan suffered a pre-mature exit and were in chaos, with some barbs even directed at captain Shahid Afridi.
Both sides have played just a match in the World T20 so far, but have had vastly different results. The pressure is now on India who had custard pie smashed on their faces by the largely unheralded spin trio of Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, and Nathan McCullum. Things seem to be falling in place for Pakistan at the right moment: the top order delivered on Wednesday against Bangladesh, as did Afridi. Once-upon-a-time finisher, Shoaib Malik is back to slip in to a similar role, and can also bind the innings if there is a (familiar) implosion.
The Kolkata pitch has been on the sluggish side, but Pakistan’s penchant for pace is their way of life. India’s middle order, which has been shielded by Kohli’s imperious form, was brutally exposed by New Zealand, and Dhoni conceded the batsmen lacked adaptability. Can the middle order produce a better riposte if Kohli’s bubble is burst again?
(last five completed matches)
Watch out for
Yuvraj Singh had spent 144 minutes in the middle with the bat on considerably green pitches in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. Three Saturdays earlier, he had to deal with the high-speed bustle of Amir and Mohammad Irfan. Yuvraj will have to contend with it again, and the stakes will be higher this time. Another loss can shake up the pre-tournament favourites’ campaign.
Before the tournament, Rohit Sharma had played down the Amir threat, calling the quick a “normal bowler“. In January, Pakistan coach Waqar Younis said: ” I still feel Amir is not at his best… he’s getting there.” He got there, or nearly got there with seven wickets at 11.57 in the Asia Cup. Slow pitch or not, normal or extraordinary, Amir will be Pakistan’s main man. Rohit v Amir will perhaps set the match up.
MS Dhoni fiddles with the XI only once in a blue moon. Ashwin remained coy on Pawan Negi’s inclusion in a high-pressure game against Pakistan. Ajinkya Rahane is available as a middle-order option, but India are likely to stick to the same XI unless Mohammed Shami comes in for Ashish Nehra.
India (probable) 1 Shikhar Dhawan 2 Rohit Sharma 3 Virat Kohli 4 Suresh Raina 5 Yuvraj Singh 6 Hardik Pandya 7 MS Dhoni (capt &wk), 8 Ravindra Jadeja 9 R Ashwin 10 Ashish Nehra 11 Jasprit Bumrah
With the team finding some rhythm and opening its campaign with a big win, Pakistan may not disturb their combination either.
Pakistan (probable) 1 Sharjeel Khan 2 Ahmed Shehzad 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Umar Akmal 5 Shoaib Malik 6 Shahid Afridi(capt) 7 Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk) 8 Imad Wasim 9 Wahab Riaz 10 Mohammad Amir 11 Mohammad Irfan
Pitch and conditions
The Kolkata track for the Afghanistan-Sri Lanka match offered the spinners grip and slow turn. The quick fizzers and googlies from Rashid Khan, a legspinner in the mould of Afridi, also skidded on and tied down the opposition. A similar pitch is in the offing and the weather is expected to be fine for the duration of the game.
Stats and trivia
- The last time Pakistan played a T20 international in India, in 2012, Yuvraj clattered 72 off 36 balls.
- Afridi needs two wickets to surpass Lasith Malinga as the overall leading wicket-taker in the World T20.
- India have played Pakistan 10 times in the 50-over World Cup and the World T20, and have won nine matches. The Durban T20 in 2007 was tied, after which India prevailed in the bowl-out.
“We felt [the Kolkata crowd’s backing] in the last game. Probably after the statement of Afridi – which was brought into controversy and brought into newspapers and all over – we felt that we were very welcome, the crowd was really behind us against Bangladesh. I know it is not going to be behind us against India, but yes that is the positive we are going to take and we are going to try to play the best cricket.”
Pakistan coach Waqar Younis on the Kolkata crowd
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.