Rain was the dominating force overnight at the cricket Word Cup as New Zealand's blockbuster clash with India was washed out. Here's all you need to know from the overnight action.
Unlikely trend continues
The Black Caps' washed-out game against India has continued one of the more unlikely droughts (ironic, we know) in world cricket.
Since India knocked New Zealand out of the World Cup in 2003, bowling them out for 146 on their way to a seven-wicket win, the two sides have failed to meet at the world's pinnacle event.
In 2007, India crashed out of the tournament in pool play after a shock loss to Bangladesh, while in 2011 the two sides were on opposite ends of the draw, and despite both making the semifinals, never met in the tournament, with Sri Lanka beating New Zealand in the semifinal to meet India in the final.
The two sides were drawn apart in 2015 as well, and once again, although both teams made the semifinals, a meeting in the final didn't take place, with this time India failing to hold up their end of the bargain, losing to Australia in the semifinal.
If all this doesn't sound too unlikely, consider the following.
Since the Black Caps last played India at a World Cup, they have played
Sri Lanka 6 times
Australia 4 times
South Africa 3 times
Bangladesh 3 times
West Indies twice
So, the Black Caps have gone up against 14 different teams – including Sri Lanka six times – since they have last played India. It's a streak that could continue until 2023 – though perhaps this time around, the two sides might finally have their semifinal meeting.
Rain, rain, go away
The Black Caps' clash at Nottingham's Trent Bridge was called off at 3.00pm, after a frustrating day where the covers came and went from the ground with exasperating regularity.
After a morning free of rain, the wicket was uncovered for the first time all week, revealing a brown pitch in good shape, but as soon as the players wandered out to get a glimpse at it, the covers came back on as the rain resumed.
The Black Caps had delayed naming their side until they got to see the conditions, but fans were left none the wiser about what their XI would have been, as the players never even got to start their warm-ups on the field, nor was the toss taken.
The pitch was never the issue either, with the sodden conditions underfoot after multiple days of rain leaving the umpires concerned about player safety.
A pitch inspection at 10.30 became a look at 11.30, before a gander at 12.30, a peek at 1.30, a squizz at 2.30 and a final verdict at 3.00, each time returning with the same result – the ground was not ready for play.
Boycs backs Black Caps
Despite the washout, the Black Caps remain strong contenders for a semi-final berth, according to former England test batsman Geoffrey Boycott.
In a column for the Telegraph, Boycott lauds Kane Williamson's side for "rarely making stupid mistakes".
"They go under the radar but punch above their weight. They have plenty of good cricketers who just go about their business, unsung, professional and rarely do they make stupid mistakes," Boycott, who played 108 tests for England, wrote.
"They have started well and are strong candidates for the last four."
'Rogue' commentator in scrap over Kiwi
Cricket great turned television commentator Michael Holding has revealed an attempt from ICC officials to shut him up after he slammed New Zealand umpire Chris Gaffaney for his blunder during Australia's controversial World Cup win over the West Indies last week.
Holding, a former West Indies fast bowler, called the officiating by Gaffaney and Sri Lankan Ruchira Palliyaguruge "atrocious" and "weak" after a number of questionable decisions went Australia's way.
The criticism followed after Chris Gayle was dismissed following a huge no-ball from Mitchell Starc went undetected by Gaffaney.
In leaked emails obtained by The Times of India, Holding has gone rogue and is refusing to curb his forthright views, despite being cautioned by his TV employer, which is the official ICC World Cup host broadcaster used by global TV networks, including Channel 9.
The report reveals an email from host broadcast service Sunset and Vine Asia sent to a number of people in the ICC TV broadcast team where Holding is told to remember that "it is not his duty to judge or highlight mistakes".
Holding reportedly returned fire, saying:"Commentators are being more and more compromised by controlling organisations to the point of censorship. I do not intend to go down that road."
Pakistan fan wins the World Cup
Pakistan's new superfan at the Cricket World Cup wasn't angry — he was just disappointed.
The spectator featured on the global broadcast of Pakistan's last-gasp loss to Australia in Taunton on Thursday morning after he perfectly summed up his team's ability to let a victory slip through its fingers.
The man, who lives in London, was spotted by broadcast cameras standing with his hands on hips, clearly a broken man, as Asif Ali dropped his second catch of the day.
Ali's blunder to put David Warner down while fielding on the fence at third man was a sitter — but the fan standing just a few metres away on the rope refused to react.
The man's internal struggle between wanting to jump over the fence and berate Ali and wanting to continue to support his team was written all over his face.
In the end it was the angel on his shoulder that won the debate.
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