Incessant rainfall for the past few days in the city led to the postponement of the first qualifier of IPL 7 between hosts Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab scheduled at the Eden Gardens.
The match will now be held at the same venue at 4 pm on Wednesday. In case the weather holds up in time, there is a possibility of a five-overs per side game by 9:10 pm latest.
At 5:15 pm on Tuesday, on-field umpires Nigel Llong and S Ravi had an inspection along with curator Prabir Mukherjee.
After consultations, the trio were unanimous in their decision that no play would be possible as the ground would not be ready in time for a minimum five-overs per side match.
As per the playing conditions and rules of IPL, in the event that a five-overs per side game is not possible, the fate of the match will be decided on the basis of ‘Super Over’.
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In case Super Over is not possible, then Kings XI Punjab by virtue of winning 11 matches in the league stage compared to KKR’s nine games, will go through to the finals.
However KKR will have another shot at final as they will be playing the second qualifier against the winner of the ‘Eliminator’ between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, on May 30.
As per IPL media advisory, the spectators, who have bought the tickets for today’s game can watch the match using the same ticket.
“Ticketholders who purchased tickets for the original match day will be able to enter the stadium on Wednesday on presentation of their original ticket (with the bar code intact) at the turnstiles. Gates will open at 2:00pm.”
“Refunds will only be made to ticket purchasers if the match is cancelled without a ball being bowled – on either of the original day or the reserve day as per the terms and conditions which are stipulated on the tickets. If appropriate, a separate announcement will be made regarding the detailed procedures for obtaining a refund.”
The Eden Gardens has a full cover for the entire ground but the low pressure-induced downpour since Sunday afternoon meant it had stayed under the thick cover and the CAB says it needs at least six hours of a dry spell to dry it up.
“Even if we don’t get a bright sunny day, a dry spell of five-six hours in the morning would be enough to make the ground ready,” CAB joint-secretary Subir Ganguly told reporters after the match was postponed to the reserve day.
Ganguly, who is also a IPL governing council member, said he suggested Match Referee Roshan Mahanama to make an official announcement before they open the gate to avoid spectators’ harassment.
“We did not want a situation when spectators get in and face unnecessary harassment.
We could have pressed for five overs a side match but since we had a reserve day, why take chances?” Ganguly asked.
The CAB had made all the arrangements to drain out the water with six super soppers in place, and four of them were working over time to remove a few patches of water on the ground.
The CAB also had provisions to pump out water if the stadium is waterlogged but thankfully the rain had stopped after a few spells in the morning.
“As you see there’s not much of water on the ground. We’re hoping the weather to stay like this so the groundsmen are able to make the ground ready.
“Ganguly had conveyed the ground conditions the KKR CEO Venky Mysore and IPL CEO Sundar Raman much before the ground was inspected around 4pm.
“Even KKR are keen to play the full 20 overs and suggested the match to be held on the reserve day,” Ganguly said.
Incidentally, both the teams did not turn up at the venue and only match officials came to make the announcement.
However thousands of spectators were seen queuing up the at venue but were only turned away with Kolkata Police making a public announcement that match had been postponed.
“We will open the gates at 2pm tomorrow and would try our best to conduct a full 20 overs a side match. But if a single ball could not be bowled, the spectators would be refunded the ticket amounts,” he added.