Rain forces replay
The scary thought of the winners of a cricket match being determined by the toss of a coin could be a stark reality in Antigua. The equivalent of a football penalty shoot-out could also be on the cards.
After persistent afternoon, evening and night rain - sometimes accompanied by strong winds and thunder - limited the quarter-final Stanford 20/20 match between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago to only 2.4 overs yesterday, the two teams will return to the Stanford Cricket Ground on Saturday, the allocated reserve day, to start over from scratch.
However, if the weather continues to be unfavourable, two methods never used to settle the outcome of a match in the Caribbean will be applied to determine which team goes through to the semi-finals of the lucrative tournament that offers a top prize of US$1 million.
In the event that no result is possible, a "bowl-out" contest will be used to determine a result. Under such conditions, five players from each team will bowl two deliveries each at the wicket. The side which hits the stumps the most from their ten attempts will be declared winners. If the scores are equal, however, it will come down to a "sudden death" situation where the same players will bowl a ball each until a result is achieved.
If conditions, however, make it impossible for a "bowl-out" to be contested, tournament rules stipulate that the "match shall be decided by the toss of a coin".
The forecast for Saturday is for scattered showers and a 30% chance of rain, almost similar to what was predicted for Friday. It was frustrating for everyone who had started to file into the ground as early as 1pm for the 3pm start on a day in which the four regional big guns were involved. The teams arrived in overcast conditions and by 2.30pm it was raining. The start of the match was delayed until 5pm and organisers still went ahead with a full 20-over match, which meant that game between Guyana and Jamaica was put back until 8.30pm.
Within 15 minutes of the start, the rain returned to ruin the contest between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. It only stopped minutes before the official abandonment at 7.30pm but it was raining heavily again within 15 minutes.
The match between Guyana and Jamaica was also abandoned and they will go at it at 7pm on Saturday, weather permitting. In the limited play possible, there was some excitement with Trinidad and Tobago reaching 17 for 2 after they were sent in. Pedro Collins removed Mario Belcon with the last ball of the first over, after earning an lbw verdict with a ball that cut back. Just before the rain came, Dale Richards's swift pick-up and direct throw from short backward point to the striker's end prised out Daren Ganga. The unofficial "play of the match" came a few balls earlier.
After Ganga had his edge clipped by Fidel Edwards as he attempted to play to leg, the ball flew to the right of Floyd Reifer at first slip and he ended up parrying it over third man for a six. As spectators patiently waited in hope of a resumption that never looked likely with rain continuously falling for two hours, there was entertainment in the form of music from Chickie and footage of previous matches on the two giant screens at the ground.