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Intermittent rain expected in Ahmedabad on Monday evening

The cut-off time for a full match to take place is 9.35 PM IST, while officials can wait till 12.06 AM for a five-over game

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
29-May-2023
It was pouring in Ahmedabad hours before the match began, Chennai Super Kings vs Gujarat Titans, IPL 2023 final, Ahmedabad, May 28, 2023

It was pouring in Ahmedabad hours before the match was scheduled to begin on Sunday  •  Rupin Kale/ ESPNcricinfo

Ahmedabad dawned bright and sunny on Monday, the reserve day of the IPL 2023 final between defending champions Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings. However, the met department and local papers predict intermittent rain between 4pm and 10pm.
The outfield that bore the brunt of a thunderstorm that lashed the city for four hours on Sunday evening was described as "bone dry" by a member of the broadcasting crew that began setting up for a re-run. There has been no rain since 10.45pm on Sunday night.
A GCA official explained a five-over contest on Sunday wouldn't have been impossible to achieve, but a fresh final is the "best-case scenario" for both teams after the match officials felt it may have been "touch and go" to get the ground ready for a truncated shootout. Another official said there was a long debate on the possible risk of injuries given the amount of water that had seeped underneath.
The playing conditions remain the same as they were on Sunday night. The cut-off time for a full match to start is 9.35pm. For a five-overs-a-side match, officials can wait till 12.06am before starting play. The final option to determine a winner is a Super Over shootout. The cut-off time to start that is 1am. The playing conditions say that if even a Super Over is not possible, Gujarat Titans will be declared champions since they finished higher in the points table in the league stage - they finished No. 1, with CSK at No. 2.
As such, the drainage at the Narendra Modi Stadium has been set up in accordance with "modern standards" and machinery. A similar downpour on Friday evening, albeit for just 45 minutes, allowed for Qualifier 2 between Titans and Mumbai Indians begin within 40 minutes of the rain abating. Two super soppers had swung into action even before the rain had completely stopped to ensure the mop-up operations didn't take long.
The ground staff, ESPNcricinfo understands, have been rigorously trained to ensure "maximum ground coverage in least possible time". This was in view on Sunday night when there was a brief 20-minute window where it appeared as if the game would start. Only a while earlier, parts of the outfield had been inundated with puddles with water seeping underneath the covers near the square.
The possibility of a full game means the fans' excitement hasn't dimmed - another full house is expected - but hotel prices and airfares out of Ahmedabad had shot through the roof. All direct flights out of Ahmedabad to Chennai had been sold out for Tuesday, with connecting flights priced at INR 28,000 for a sector that charges INR 5000 on an average. Several CSK players, especially the overseas players, who were scheduled to fly out of the city in the wee hours on Monday, have been rescheduled for a later departure on Tuesday.
Hundreds of fans had gathered outside the stadium hoping to get hands on tickets that several others were hoping to sell in lieu of being unable to cancel their Monday departures. This has led to chaotic scenes with heavy police presence along the water-logged streets outside the ground, similar to how it was late on Sunday night as thousands of fans were forced to wade through at least 3km in ankle-deep waters before getting any kind of public transport outside of the Ahmedabad Metro that had already been running to capacity.
The local authorities have been instructed to ensure fans don't have to undergo similar hassles on Monday night, with a number of feeder buses and smoother checkpoints set up for entry. Fans who couldn't pick up their physical tickets in exchange of the online ones on match days have been permitted to do so at multiple locations in the city to prevent further queues and logjams outside the venue as authorities look to clear up the venue in time for Monday's re-run.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo