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South Africa vs India, 1st T20I at Durban, SA v IND, Dec 10 2023 - Ball by Ball Commentary

1st T20I (D/N), Durban, December 10, 2023, India tour of South Africa

Match abandoned without a ball bowled

5.54pm It's official: the game has been called off. Incessant rain means not even the toss is possible at Kingsmead in Durban. India's tour of South Africa in 2023-24 begins with a washout at a venue which boasts of probably the highest south-Asian population, and of a match whose tickets were sold out a month back. But little could be done about that, as the action now shifts to the second T20I, to be played in Gqeberha on Tuesday. Do join us for that match. Until then, take care!

5.40pm We keep waiting to hear any further update, with no further news from Kingsmead at the moment. The longer the rain drags on for, the more the hopes fade away - even for a shortened game.

With the rain continuing to pour, it might be a good time to recollect India's best sporting moments of the year. Chief among them was Satwiksairaj Rankireddy's Sashtang Dandvat Pranam upon winning the Asian Games gold alongside Chirag Shetty - in tribute to his coaches, Pullela Gopichand and Mathias Boe. A moment so authentic, so quintessentially Indian yet so universal in sentiment - which is why it is one of ESPN India's Moments of the Year.

5.15pm Live pictures show the rain is steady at Kingsmead, with spectators taking shelter under their umbrellas or raincoats. The players, meanwhile, hardly seem bothered while being perched in their dressing rooms. That could be a sign of what is to come.

Rajendra: "Anyone interested in golgappas and kachori chaat in dinner? So tasty during rain breaks" --- I'm sure they are tasty no matter the day of the week, and the weather; and I'd give pakodas and samosas the edge during rains

Nikhil: "Busy day today - son has a piano recital, and daughter has a dance recital. I guess I will enjoy the show then, checking Cricinfo every 30 seconds" --- As good as perhaps fatherhood can ever get

5.05pm There is nothing to report for now from Kingsmead, as we can only wait and watch. It continues to rain at Kingsmead, even as we keep our hopes alive.

Rahul: "I am applying my charting skills in Technical Analysis for the stock market. I hope for a good day tomorrow as a trader in the stock market." --- Hmmm, money matters

Aba: "At least Premier League is keeping me busy. City trailing against Luton at halftime is a feeling of relief for a Manchester United fan"

Doctor V: "Busy cooking egg masala in rainy Bournemouth, UK, and tuning in for updates. Prospect looks bleak now for the match!" --- By mentioning Bournemouth, you've just reminded a Manchester United fan of the terror last night

Dr Tripathi: "Diagnosing cancer patients keeps me busy amid rain" --- Only if you could also find a cure for rain-affected cricket matches

Jithu: "Call the match off already, so that I can watch India Women's game in peace!" --- I'm sure you can do that already, given no update regarding play in Durban is likely very soon

4.40pm The wait continues, as it's still raining at Kingsmead. But let us know what is keeping you busy, as we hope for some good news from the ground.

4.15pm Firdose Moonda reports that there is a steady drizzle going on at Kingsmead at the moment.

Ali: "I have learned to appreciate the rain delays. There is not much happening, but it still gives you the feeling that you are following a cricket match. You can get your work done while alleviating the missing-out feeling" --- The perfect positive amid the frustration

4.05pm There's no further update from Kingsmead, as we continue waiting. Remember, we could start losing overs in another 35 minutes.

"Has Rahul Dravid taken over as head coach with the T20 series, or is he rested too?" --- He is back, Kamlesh, with a new contract in place

Elsewhere, the image of Sheetal Devi, shooting a bow with her feet en route multiple gold medals at the Para Asian Games, captured the minds of India this year. It crystalised the struggles and triumphs of a para athlete perfectly, and for that, it is one of ESPN India's Moments of the Year.

3.35pm We are still entirely hopeful of a full game, but could start losing overs from around 4.40pm.

3.25pm An official update from CSA says the toss and the start of the first T20I in Durban has been delayed due to rain. So for now, we can only wait and hope the action starts soon. Until then, you always have more cricket to follow: India Women host England in Mumbai, and Ireland chase 141 against Zimbabwe in the series decider in Harare.

3.20pm The T20 World Cup is just about six months away, and both teams seek to finalise their pool of players despite the limited opportunities available. So both Suryakumar Yadav and Aiden Markram, captains for this T20I series, are banking on franchise T20s for World Cup selection. That's a sign of the inevitability of T20 leagues.

3.10pm Before we even get into the cricket or the on-field business, here's a piece of (bad) news already: rain is greeting us in Durban. A BCCI update from about 35 minutes back said as much. Even so, we can quickly get up to speed with what has been brewing ahead of the tour opener, beginning with Firdose Moonda's preview of this match. Here come the holiday vibes, and with them, the financial boost for CSA.

3pm The juggernaut keeps rolling. Welcome to the train that now takes India to South Africa, the visitors' second series already within three weeks of the World Cup. International cricket - and its players - finds itself crammed between country and franchise committments, as rest and rotation for multiple first-choice names means we are, as is entirely expected in this day and time of T20 vs ODIs vs Tests, about to witness most second- or third-choice cricketers in action. But little of all that matters, as cricket's biggest economy brings its financial powers to a country which had to give birth to a T20 league to help maintain its bottom line. This is Himanshu saying hello, and I'll be with you for the complete duration of this match.