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September 8, 2007
Nine of the 27 ICC World Twenty20 matches, scheduled in Cape Town, are in danger of being hampered by rain as the venue has received more than 100 millimetres of rain in August. The Australian reported that with 33mm of rain falling in the last ten days, the ground staff at the Newlands have been forced to prepare the pitch under a tent.
Newlands is scheduled to host three group matches for England, Australia and Zimbabwe, a Group A game between South Africa and Bangladesh, four out of 12 Super Eights games and one of the semi-finals.
The ICC had earlier planned to use SuperSport Park in Centurion as a back-up to Newlands but Steve Elworthy, Cricket South Africa's communications director, said it was now too late to plan such a shift. "There are no rest days, so you reach a point of no return," Elworthy said. "It's in the hands of the gods. We're backing the [Western Province] union and the plans they've put in place.
"It's a matter of managing the amount of water that gets onto the field, and Newlands has those contingencies covered."
Ticket sales for the two back-to-back matches in Cape Town on September 16 - potentially Australia against West Indies and South Africa against England if the group stages run as expected - have been very high.
While the Newlands groundsman, Bennett Hewe, said the pitch wouldn't offer much bounce, Shaun Pollock, the South African allrounder who was born in Cape Province, said the bowlers would enjoy it. "In Cape Town, in particular, there has been a lot of rain so we might find we get a few green seamers down there," Pollock said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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