The Black Caps are scheduled to play in their fourth match of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, against India in Nottingham tonight. Niall Anderson runs through all you need to know – well, at least most of what you need to know - about the clash.
It's going to rain.
Oh, sorry, was I supposed to be more detailed? I forgot how this format works. Let's try that again.
Finally, a big game! I'm so excited! The two last unbeaten teams go head-to-head – who will be left standing?
Well... both of them. Yes, unfortunately the weather forecast is looking rather bleak for any prospects of play, with steady rain overnight potentially set to turn heavy in Nottingham in the morning. It's expected to ease in the middle of the afternoon, but it doesn't look likely that it will stop completely at any point, and even if it did, it would take a miracle for the Trent Bridge groundstaff to have the ground ready in time.
Why? Has it been raining all week?
Pretty much. I've barely seen the sun since arriving in Nottingham, with either gloomy clouds or persistent rain being the two weather options over the past few days. That's left the Trent Bridge outfield rather sodden, so even if the rain eased, the sun is not expected to shine, and it could take hours to get the ground in playing condition.
So, no play at all then?
Unless the weather forecasters are wildly wrong, I would be stunned if they managed to take the field, let alone got any sort of completed game in.
Is that necessarily a bad thing for the Black Caps?
Perhaps not. India are favourites for the clash for a reason – they are a better side then the Black Caps, as shown in their 4-1 drubbing in the ODI series in New Zealand earlier this year. So a point apiece, which would keep the Black Caps atop the World Cup ladder, would be a decent return, and significantly aid their quest of earning a semifinal spot.
I'm sure the players aren't thinking that way, though?
No, the Black Caps want to test themselves against the best, and rightly so.
"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," said Lockie Ferguson.
The confidence point could be a key one, as New Zealand could be deprived of an opportunity to get a serious hitout against one of the favourites for the Cup, and a chance to prove they can indeed beat a title contender.
It sounds like we won't get to see who makes New Zealand's first choice XI either?
Not yet. All 15 players are now fit and available, with Tim Southee having overcome his calf injury, but with the wicket under covers, the Black Caps haven't been able to decide on what their XI will be for the clash, if it does happen to get underway. Both Southee and Henry Nicholls are strong candidates for inclusion against India, but now they may have to wait for South Africa on Wednesday for their chance.
Ok, how do we follow this game? Or at least follow the weather updates?
Tune in to live commentary on Radio Sport, and live updates on nzherald.co.nz, probably featuring me babbling away about the best rain songs, while intermittingly giving weather updates in my new role as official Herald Weather correspondent.
We simply can't have that. Please tell me this will be the last of the weather disruptions?
Let me just bring up the forecast …. Let's see here …. Ah, the forecast for Wednesday in Birmingham is foooooor…
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