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Rain threat looms over IPL 2022 playoff matches in Kolkata

Local cricket official feels play can begin within an hour of the rain stopping because of the upgraded covers and drainage facilities

Kolkata and the rest of West Bengal have experienced a lot of rain over the past week  •  Getty Images

Kolkata and the rest of West Bengal have experienced a lot of rain over the past week  •  Getty Images

The threat of rain interruptions hangs over Tuesday night's Qualifier 1 between Gujarat Titans and Rajasthan Royals at Eden Gardens.
Kolkata experienced a brief afternoon shower on the day, and more rain is forecast for the evening, with a nearly 60% chance of precipitation between 6pm and 9pm. The match is scheduled to begin at 7.30pm. Rain could also affect Wednesday night's Eliminator between Lucknow Super Giants and Royal Challengers Bangalore, with a 50% chance of showers forecast.
But Naresh Ojha, the vice-president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, was confident that the match on Tuesday would go ahead, reckoning that play could begin within an hour of the rain stopping. "Our drainage is excellent, and we have full covers for the outfield," he told ESPNcricinfo. "Even if we can start by 10.10pm, we can have a full 20-overs game, or the worst-case scenario is five overs per side with a 11.56pm start."
According to the IPL's regulations, a Super Over will decide the playoff matches if no play is possible in regulation time. If ground conditions remain unplayable, the league standings will determine the winner.
This will mean that if no play - or Super Over - is possible on Tuesday, Titans will qualify for the IPL final as the table-toppers, while Royals will face the winner of the Eliminator in the second Qualifier, in Ahmedabad later in the week. If Wednesday's Eliminator is washed out too, Super Giants will go through to the second Qualifier, with Royal Challengers knocked out.
The second Qualifier and the final are scheduled to be played in Ahmedabad on May 27 and 29 respectively.
Kolkata and the rest of West Bengal have experienced rainy weather over the past week. A Nor'wester or Kalbaisakhi - a brief and violent thunderstorm that affects India's eastern states and Bangladesh - accompanied by 90kph winds lashed the state on Saturday and caused four deaths, according to news reports. The glass façade of the Eden Gardens press box also suffered minor damage during the storm.
The drainage facilities at Eden Gardens came under scrutiny in 2015 following the abandonment of an India-South Africa T20I due to the outfield remaining waterlogged hours after a 30-minute downpour. The drainage system has since been upgraded, however, and the ground staff have also adopted the practice of covering the entire outfield - a sight that is common in Sri Lanka, but less so at Indian venues.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo