After hazardous air-pollution levels threatened to disrupt the first T20I between India and Bangladesh in Delhi, there is the very real possibility of a cyclone affecting the next match of the series, in Rajkot on Thursday. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Cyclone Maha is expected to make a landfall in Gujarat on November 6, and could cause "heavy or very heavy rains" in the state on November 7, the day of the match.
The good news, though, is that the cyclone "is very likely to intensify further till 5th November morning and weaken gradually thereafter", according to the IMD.
Positioned around central Arabian Sea on Monday morning, just over 600 kilometres from the coast of Gujarat, the cyclone has been moving north-west from close to the Kerala coast for the last five days. It is, however, expected to take a turn towards Gujarat on Tuesday.
Jaydev Shah, the former Saurashtra captain who is now the head of the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA), told ESPNcricinfo that all precautions have been to taken to make sure the match takes place. "We have covered the ground to make sure the match can start on time in case the rain does disrupt."
Shah was optimistic of the match taking place and said the weather so far has been good, four days from game day.
The met authorities said that the cyclone had intensified into an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm and is likely to cross the Gujarat coast around midnight on Wednesday or in the early hours of Thursday. Rajkot, in central Gujarat, is just over 100 kilometres from the coast.
ESCS MAHA centered near 18.3°N/64.6°E. about 670km WSW of Veraval(Gujarat) at 0830IST of 4th november. pic.twitter.com/q9HjLTU1Vz— India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) November 4, 2019
"Severe cyclonic storm Maha lay centered at 580 kilometres southwest of Diu and 550 kms southwest of Veraval," IMD director Jayanta Sarkar told PTI. "It is most likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm and make landfall between Dwarka and Diu on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning with wind speeds of 120 kilometres per hour.
"The storm will cause heavy to very heavy rains in Saurashtra [the region of which Rajkot is a part] and south Gujarat on November 6-7. It is moving towards Oman but will recurve towards Gujarat coast on Monday."
Bangladesh lead the series 1-0 after pulling off a seven-wicket win in the opening fixture.