Calcutta: With more inclement weather forecast for Wednesday, the reserve day for Qualifier 1, it’s advantage Kings XI Punjab as they will advance to the final of IPL VII by virtue of having finished on “top of the league” in case a result isn’t possible.
Kolkata Knight Riders will then have to battle it out against the winner of Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians in Qualifier 2 for a berth in the final.
Tuesday’s match was postponed to Wednesday (4pm start) after Match Referee Roshan Mahanama and the two umpires, Nigel Llong and S. Ravi, inspected Eden Gardens around 5pm.
After consultations, the trio were unanimous in their decision that no play would be possible on the day as the ground would not be ready in time for a minimum five-over per side match. If the weather doesn’t permit a full match, there is a possibility of exploring a five-over per side game on Wednesday.
If even that is not possible, as per the playing conditions, the winner will be decided via a Super Over. The latest the Super Over can begin is 9.10 pm.
“In the event that it is not possible to schedule a 5 over match to complete by the end of the extra time on the reserve day (i.e. by 9.10pm on Wednesday, 28 May, for the Qualifier 1), the teams will, if conditions permit, play a Super Over to determine the winner of that play-off match.
The pitch and ground must be ready for play so that the Super Over can start at the latest by 9.10 pm,” according to the playing conditions.
Both the teams didn’t turn up at the ground and only the match officials came to make an announcement.
The entire ground remained covered throughout the day and a dry spell of around five to six hours will be needed to get the ground match fit.
Four of the super-soppers have worked overtime to remove the water on the sheets used to cover the ground. The CAB has also made provisions to pump out water if the ground is waterlogged.
“Even if we don’t get a bright sunny day, a dry spell of five-six hours in the morning would be enough to get the ground ready,” said CAB joint-secretary Subir Ganguly.
Ganguly, who is also a IPL governing council member, said he suggested Mahanama to make an official announcement before the gates open to reduce spectator harassment.
“The gates usually open two hours prior to the start. We did not want a situation when spectators get in and face unnecessary harassment.
“We could have pressed for a five-over-a-side match, but since we had a reserve day, why take a chance?” said Ganguly.
“As you see, there’s not much of water on the ground. We’re hoping the weather to stay like this so that the groundsmen are able to get the ground ready.”
Ganguly had conveyed the ground conditions to Knight Riders’ chief executive Venky Mysore and IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman much before the inspection.
The Knight Riders will be fervently hoping that they get to play their qualifier at home. Backed by frenetic home support, they would be looking to book their final berth here rather than having to play in Mumbai.
Eden curator Prabir Mukherjee was worried about the outfield.
“The pitch and the bowlers’ run-up remain unaffected. But the moisture under the covers has dampened the outfield. It will need some sunshine or windy conditions to evaporate,” said Mukherjee.
The decision to move the match to the reserve day, however, didn’t go down well with everyone in the CAB.
“We should have waited for some time… There was no rain after 4 pm. The match could have been possible around 9 pm.
“There was enough time to dry the ground… The decision was taken in a hurry,” said a senior CAB official.
“Knight Riders’ match against the Delhi DareDevils had started at the Eden at 11.30 pm in 2012.
“A truncated match was always a possibility. We should have waited for some more time,” the official remarked.
To enter the ground on the reserve day, the spectators will have to retain their tickets.
“Ticket-holders who purchased tickets for the original match day will be able to enter the stadium on Wednesday on presentation of their original ticket (with the bar code intact) at the turnstiles,” said a media release.
“Refunds will only be made to ticket purchasers if the match is cancelled without a ball being bowled.”