Many would say it would have been an absolutely certain bet.

That the day of the originally planned ODI between the Black Caps and South Africa which was set to be staged at McLean Park in Napier on Wednesday would dawn bright and sunny.

Warm and dry and, as Weatherwatch forecast, with a zero percent chance of rain.

At the park on what would have been match day there was sunshine aplenty - but its only accompaniment was silence.


While the sight screens were still standing and the television tower scaffolding was all in place, the wicket - which has been superbly prepared for the rain-cancelled match against Australia on February 2 - was studded with now spreading grass.

And the outfield was dry, looking an absolute picture.

One nearby resident who wandered in through the Morris St gate for a quick look simply said "you could have put money on this happening couldn't you?"

Money could also have been put on the fact that (according to Weatherwatch) there was a 55 per cent chance of rain, and possible late thunderstorms, in Hamilton ... where the fourth ODI was transferred to after outfield drainage problems scuttled the Australian match.

"Oh I can absolutely see the black humour and irony in this," Mayor Bill Dalton said before adding that agreeing to have the planned match shifted was a no-brainer.

"We could not take the risk," he said.

"We have lost one match but we have maintained our future for hosting games."

Mr Dalton said many people failed to realise that McLean Park got a "black mark" from the International Cricket Council for the abandonment of the February 2 ODI and it had made it clear that a second black mark, for the same rain/drainage reasons, would have resulted in Napier not being able to apply to stage another international match for three years.


"So we agreed to forego this one because we could not run the risk of that second black mark - I believe it was entirely the most appropriate thing to do."

Had it been rained out again and the second black mark applied the park would have lost the hosting rights for next year's planned cricket internationals against England and Pakistan.

"But yes, I can see the irony here - a beautiful Napier day."

In the wake of an investigation into the abandonment of the Australian match it was found there was an urgent need for a revitalisation of the turf and remedial work on the drainage and irrigation systems.

That $900,000 work would take place this year.