A storm is brewing in Kolkata. Not because Australia and South Africa find themselves in a World Cup semifinal for the third time in history. A literal storm if weather gods want to play it funny is looming large ahead of the 2nd semifinal here at the Eden Gardens.
Weather and South Africa do not go hand in hand, but for once, South Africa have the upper hand here. How do you ask? Well, in case of a complete washout South Africa will make the semis by finishing higher than Australia during the league stages. However, if the 16th is rainout out, there of course is the reserve day on the 17th.
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Now, to the actual weather prediction the possibility of a low-pressure region forming over west-central West Bengal on Wednesday (Nov 15), that could potentially lead to rain making its appearance on match day.
“It (the low-pressure area) is likely to move west-north westwards and intensify into a Depression over West-central Bay of Bengal on 15th November 2023. Thereafter, it would move northwestwards and may intensify into a Deep Depression over west-central Bay of Bengal off Andhra Pradesh coast on 16th November,” read an evening bulletin of the Indian Meteorological Department.
What this essentially means is 16th November, i.e. the match day is likely to receive moderate rainfall at many places with isolated heavy rainfall likely over coastal districts of Odisha & West Bengal on 16th & 17th November.
However, the men who matter, not from the weather point of view of course, but officials at the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) are confident that the game will go as planned. And even in the case of overnight rains, Eden Gardens is fully prepared to have a game the next day.
“We can cover the ground end to end and there will be no issues if it rains overnight. The drainage system here is upgraded and we can have the ground ready in no time, provided there are no incessant rains,” Snehasish Ganguly, CAB President told CricketNext.com.
But both teams cannot afford to look up and wait as they put in their last-minute preparations. A full-fledged Australian decked themselves out the Eden Gardens for some fun training session. While the likes of Mitchell Marsh, Cam Green and Marcus Stoinis sweated out in the middle, Marnus Labuschagne and Glenn Maxwell in particular chose to bat left-handed – for a brief while before hitting their straps.
Steve Smith, still reeling with poor form could be seen hitting still balls getting his eye in before hitting the nets and facing spinners – left-armers and right-armers alike.
On Monday, there was a specific focus on the left-arm spin with two net bowlers – both left-arm slow – bowling in tandem to the likes of Travis Head, Labuschagne, Smith and Marsh.
In the South African camp, their training session was far more intense but all eyes were on Temba Bavuma, who similar to Monday, did a lot of running under the watchful eyes of the team physio, before making an appearance at the nets to bat. Still reeling under the effects of the hamstring niggle he faced in South Africa’s final league game against Afghanistan, Bavuma is running against time to prove his match fitness come 16th November.