For an hour yesterday afternoon, there would have been fears that today's opening Cable & Wireless One-Day International between West Indies and New Zealand was in serious doubt.

With rolling thunder, heavy black clouds and light showers, Sabina Park was beginning to take on the gloomy look of two weekends ago when not a single ball was bowled in any of the two One-Days involving India.

Four men on top the George Headley Stand continued in their efforts to put up the big Scotiabank balloon, but when the rains became heavier, they abandoned the task.

The two men painting the Cable & Wireless logos on the ground stopped as soon as the showers started at 1:30 p.m.

The clouds in the distance were especially ugly and sometimes it was impossible to see the famous Blue Mountains to the north of the ground.

By 4:30 p.m., things were not so bleak. The groundstaff removed the covers on the square, but did not touch those on the practice pitches in front of the Eastern Stand. From a distance, huge puddles could be seen on those pieces of tarpaulins.

Sunshine never returned until about 5:30 p.m. and thunder was occasionally heard during the evening, but at least there was no more rain. It was in contrast to the start of the day when it was a typical day in the tropics.

Against the background of the double washout on May 25 and 26, everyone concerned would have paid attention to today's forecast. The Met. Office in the capital city here said it should be partly cloudy with a chance of showers, which should not be long, heavy or continuous.

If there is another washout, it will strengthen the West Indies Cricket Board's argument to the International Cricket Council that matches should not be staged in the Caribbean during the hurricane season, which started on June 1.

West Indies last night named a squad of 12 which omitted Gareth Breese and they are expected to go in with the same 11 that played against India in back-to-back matches at Queen's Park Oval last weekend, with Ryan Hinds likely to sit out.

Match Details

The teams (from):

West Indies: Carl Hooper (captain), Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ridley Jacobs, Mervyn Dillon, Pedro Collins, Corey Collymore, Cameron Cuffy, Ryan Hinds.

Reserve: Gareth Breese.

New Zealand: Stephen Fleming (captain), Nathan Astle, Shane Bond, Ian Butler, Chris Harris, Matthew Hart, Paul Hitchcock, Matt Horne, Craig McMillan, Chris Nevin, Jacob Oram, Scott Styris, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori, Lou Vincent.

Umpires: Asoka deSilva (Sri Lanka), Billy Doctrove (Dominica). TV replays: Eddie Nicholls (Guyana). Reserve official: Rudi Koetzen (South Africa).

Match referee: Wasim Raja (Pakistan).

Playing times (East Caribbean)

10:35 a.m. 1:05 p.m. (may be extended until full allotment of overs is completed); 2:45 p.m. to close.