The rain may be great for the farmers but it's meant an anxious wait for cricket fans planning to attend Napier's first men's Twenty20 international today.

According to national weather forecasting agency MetService, "occasional rain" was expected throughout the morning and into the early afternoon, although the conditions were expected to clear with a turn to a nor'wester in the evening.

Little more than 5mm of rain was being forecast in the 24 hours before the game between New Zealand's Black Caps and Bangladesh starts at McLean Park at 7pm, although more rain was possible during the 20 overs-a-side international expected to take about three hours.

Duty meteorologist Kyle Lee said in Wellington: "I think we're going for the more optimistic outlook. Hopefully it will be clear during the evening."


Yesterday's patchy rain, amid southerly conditions moving up the east coast amounted to little and the weather is expected to clear for temperatures of 25C and above later in the week, for the Hawke's Bay Summer Cycling Festival, starting on tomorrow.

But the show of precipitation brought consternation to cricket fans tiring of the notion that scheduling big cricket matches in Napier is a sure droughtbreaker for the region. As it happens, it rained in Napier on January 3 last year too - about 10mm.

The reputation dates back to 1979 when a full day of McLean Park's first five-day test match was washed-out, although full use was then made of what had been a scheduled rest day.

The situation wasn't helped when rain on January 28 last year caused a one-day, 50 overs-a-side match between New Zealand and Pakistan to be abandoned without a ball being bowled, the second such outcome in seven ODI matches scheduled for McLean Park in just more than two years.

They had, however, been the only matches abandoned because of rain in the 45 ODIs booked for the park since the first in 1983, while only one other was so disrupted by rain that no result could be declared.

Twenty20 cricket has been around for almost 14 years since being introduced as a short-form one-day game to bolster falling domestic cricket attendances in the UK. It wasn't intended for international cricket and while New Zealand and Australia played the first T20 international in 2005, today's match is the first T20 men's international at McLean Park.

The match is the first in a five-match T20 series between New Zealand and Bangladesh, and the first of three big internationals at McLean Park over the next nine weeks, with February 3 set for the second of three 50-over Chappell-Hadlee series matches between New Zealand and Australia, and March 1 set for the Blacks Caps and South Africa to play the third game in a five-match ODI series.