UAE more worried by storm than WI
The Southern Ocean sparkles a shade of aquamarine, a gentler colour than the sapphire of the Mediterranean or the Indian. Its waves lap against the shoreline, so softly that they seem to want to mitigate against the harsh texture of the black pebble beach. The surface does not look the most comfortable place to sunbathe but with the sun's golden rays creating a mirage, it's magical in its own way. So much so, that if you strolled down Napier's Marine Parade on Saturday morning, you would not believe there was a storm on the way.
But 3,000 kilometres north, Cyclone Pam has lashed the island of Vanuatu where it is being called the worst weather system in 30 years. It is heading towards New Zealand's north-east and is expected to make landfall late Sunday night but the precursor to it - rain and wind - could arrive before that and it may find its way to McLean Park. Currently the forecast is for drizzle and heavier rain later; a no-result will send West Indies crashing out of the World Cup.
Under the circumstances, Jason Holder could be looking anxiously to the heavens - which remained cloudless on Saturday afternoon - and hoping, but the young captain has chosen to stare straight ahead in his approach to the crunch game. "It's not on my mind at all. We can't play the weather," he said. "If it comes, it comes."
Instead, it is the UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir who is monitoring the weather updates, albeit for a slightly different reason. "I am worried about the cyclone. We've got a flight back on Monday. It has been a very long hectic tour, although we have enjoyed it, and we need to go back safely," Mohammad Tauqir said.
Irrespective of the result, UAE will leave New Zealand on Monday and head back to the Emirates by mid-week but, unlike some of the other sides, their players will not able to take break after six weeks on the road. "Our employers are waiting for us," Tauqir said.
His self-titled "amateur" side all have day jobs - those who are not Emirati citizens, which is most of the squad, would not be able to stay in the country if they did not - and this tournament was more about the experience than the outcome. On that front, they have enjoyed every bit of it.
"We started well in the games against Zimbabwe and Ireland and then we had one bad game against India. Even against Pakistan and South Africa, it was a decent performance from our side. It has been long but we got a few good breaks between games," Tauqir said. "We would like to end this tournament on a winning note."
With UAE talking like a side with one foot on the plane, West Indies may be more confident of their chances of doing what they need to do to advance, even though they have left it late and irrespective of the weather.
"Any team would have loved to qualified by now and we've been up and down but I have confidence in the guys to produce what is needed," Holder said. "I can't say we've been horrible. What is important is that we forget the past. The better we do, the better our chances later in the quarter finals as well."
The World Cup has already seen one weather system, tropical cyclone Marcia, which passed through Brisbane and washed out the match between Australia and Bangladesh but has not had any other significant weather interruptions.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent