By Niall Anderson in Manchester

The Black Caps were in the closing stages of their most important ODI innings in four years when the rain fell and the covers were rushed on.

For the first time at a Cricket World Cup, a semifinal will be played on a reserve day, as rain began to fall just after 2.00pm local time at Manchester's Old Trafford. The covers remained on for most of the afternoon before umpires made the call to stretch the semifinal between New Zealand and India into a second day.

Not for the first time at this tournament, following an abandoned game against India in Nottingham, the Black Caps were forced to find alternative measures to occupy themselves as the game was continually delayed.

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As a result, they were stuck in the sheds, needing to fill four hours before the game was stopped for the day and turned into a two-day international.

With the players and coaches not allowed to have their phones at the ground due to anti-corruption requirements, a select group of Black Caps staffers – support staff, security, media managers and the physio – are often relied upon to have a full range of weather apps on their phone to keep the team in the loop.

[Read more: Did India dodge a bullet during Black Caps semifinal rain delay?]

Black Caps fast bowler Lockie Ferguson looks out at the rain during the World Cup semifinal. Photo / Photosport
Black Caps fast bowler Lockie Ferguson looks out at the rain during the World Cup semifinal. Photo / Photosport

Earlier in the tournament, bowler Tim Southee described what the scenes were like in the pavilion and changing rooms as the players found ways to pass the time.

"Guys do different things, a few guys play cards, a few guys kick a soccer ball around if there's enough room in the changing rooms, some guys like to just lie down and take it easy.

[Read more: Black Caps semifinal against India extended to second day after rain]

"They are long days – guys about now start to get on each other's nerves, so probably a good time to head home, but guys just get up to whatever they want to get up to – some guys just like to chill, others like to play games, and a few guys drink a lot of coffee and tea. There are a lot of things which go on."

However, as relaxed as the environment may be, there's always the need to be alert, with the ability for a change in conditions to suddenly require a change in attitude.

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"It's a good atmosphere, but obviously everyone wants to get out and play – you've got one eye on what's happening out in the middle, because you know that things can happen reasonably quickly, and all of a sudden the umpires knock and you've got 45 minutes to get your head around playing a game," explained Southee.

"You come in and you'd think all our guys are very relaxed, but there's also one eye on what's happening outside and being able to switch your focus back on when you need to."

The same challenge presented itself for the Indian players during the pool game in Nottingham, with fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar describing the difficulties of waiting for the rain to clear.

"It's a challenge for the players and the support staff to switch down but not really switch off, because the match could start at any time, so you keep yourself prepared in the back of the mind.

"At the same time, [you try] not think too much about the game and keep yourself a little busy - reading, some music or chatting with friends. We deal with it all the time."

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