Truth, at times, can be harsh and for cricket fans, it can also be cruel. There is a good chance, and that is stating it as moderately as possible, that the India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2023 Group A match at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, which is a 30-minute drive from Kandy, may be washed out. It has been raining quite heavily for the last two days in Pallekle and if the different weather apps are to be believed, things could worse on Saturday (September 2), when the India vs Pakistan is scheduled to take place. The lowest predicted rain percentage by weather for Saturday is 91%, which makes it nearly impossible for the match to take place unless a miracle happens.
Miracles related to sunshine and clear weather in Sri Lanka during August-September are wishful thinking even for the optimistic. There is a reason why cricket matches are rare during these two months. It rains heavily and becomes increasingly difficult for even the skilled ground staff of Sri Lankan stadiums to make a complete match possible. Pallekele has hosted 33 ODIs so far and only three of them have been during August-September, giving a clear indication that the Sri Lanka Cricket Board avoids hosting cricket matches during this time due to peak monsoon season.
Then why is the Asia Cup happening at this time? It was a last-minute decision. The Asian Council had no choice but to go for a hybrid model once it was clear that India wouldn’t get government clearance to travel to Pakistan, the original solo hosts of the tournament. The majority of the Asia Cup 2023 matches had to be shifted to Sri Lanka despite the weather predictions.
Before the India vs Pakistan Group A match on Saturday, home team Sri Lanka are set to kick off their Asia Cup campaign against Bangladesh in a Group B match at the same venue on Thursday. According to an Indian Express report, there are high chances of that match being halted by rain and a wet outfield. The consistent rain and gloomy weather for the last three days have made it difficult for the ground staff to make the field ready. There are multiple patchy areas in the playing area. There is good news though, morning pictures showed bright sunshine. If the rain Gods relent in the evening then this match could show the way for the big-ticket IND vs PAK match on Saturday.
The only saving grace is that this is a 50-over contest and the ground staff will get a lot of time to try their best to make sure that a curtailed game takes place. If push comes to shove and the weather Gods relent then be prepared for a 20-over contest between the two sides. But if even that is not possible then India and Pakistan will share points. Pakistan will automatically qualify for thee Super 4 stage as they have already beaten Nepal – the other team in Group A. India then will have to beat Nepal in their group fixture to advance to the next round.