By a rather drenched Niall Anderson in Nottingham
The Black Caps are eager to play against India at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
As they should be – all top-level athletes are supremely confident in their abilities – and having claimed dominant ODI victories over India in Hamilton and in their World Cup warm-up clash, a fourth straight World Cup win is not an outlandish proposition.
But, the Black Caps probably aren't going to play against India at Trent Bridge on Thursday – and that's probably not such a bad thing.
An already dispiriting weather forecast isn't getting any better, with the Met Office having moved from predicting a 40-50 per cent chance of rain for most of the day, to a 60-90 per cent probability of rain – and in the afternoon, rather heavy rain at that.
The Black Caps are significant underdogs for the clash in Nottingham – currently listed at $2.72 for victory – and even though India will be without opener Shikhar Dhawan due to a left thumb hairline fracture, New Zealand would still need an excellent performance to claim victory.
That much was shown in their ODI series this summer, where despite the aforementioned excellent Hamilton performance, the Black Caps were outplayed in a 4-1 drubbing, and while they are capable of the type of showing that would double as a huge statement of intent, splitting the points wouldn't be the worst result either.
Black Caps seamer Lockie Ferguson isn't thinking that way, however.
"We want to play. We're playing India in the World Cup, it's an opportunity to get two points. We don't want to get a rained out game – I don't think any players do. We're looking to play India and build some confidence against them."
That's undoubtedly true for the players, but there are worse fates than earning a point in a game where a neutral observer would expect no return. And, you feel that if given truth serum, the Black Caps would acknowledge that if any of their first four games was to be rained out, this would have undoubtedly been the one that they would have chosen.
It's more than just the weather on game day that will play a part too, with rain having lashed Nottingham for two straight days, with a third on the way. With puddles pooling on the uncovered parts of Trent Bridge, even if the sun does break through, it might require some time before the outfield is in a playable condition.
These are no simple showers either. Your lead-brained correspondent thought it a good idea to walk to the ground, only to encounter flooding on the way, and thus spent the remainder of his afternoon trying to ward off fungal disease by drying his shoes with a hairdryer.
The Trent Bridge groundstaff will have much more sophisticated ways to deal with their rain-related problems, but in the end, everyone's hopes of cricket on Thursday might be doused.
The Alternative Commentary Collective are podcasting their way through the World Cup. Known for their unconventional sports analysis and off-kilter banter, the ACC have come to ask the tough questions. Here's the latest episode of 'The Agenda':
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT