Umpires walk off the field
Umpires walk off the field after calling off the match between India and New Zealand at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. Image Credit: AP

Nottingham: The much-awaited India-New Zealand contest was abandoned without a ball being bowled at the Trent Bridge ground. The two unbeaten sides of the tournament thus continue to remain unbeaten, but got beaten by the rain. Though it did rain overnight, it was only drizzling intermittently throughout the day, often giving hope to the fans.

The groundsmen rolled up the covers around the pitch thrice but were forced to put them back again. At 3pm, the umpires announced that the match has been abandoned and that both India and New Zealand will share a point each. This will leave New Zealand on top of the table with seven points, followed by Australia with six points from four matches and India on third with five points from three matches.

Afghanistan, England and Australia are the only three teams that have not been hit by rain.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli consoled himself by stating: “One point is not a bad thing for sides that have won all their games so far. So we’ll take it.” The Indian skipper feels that it was better not to play on a slippery outfield and bring injury to the players.

“Disappointing not to get any game time at all. It is a sensible decision to not play, given the outfield wasn’t fully fit. From the players’ point of view and where the teams are placed, it was better suited not to take the field when it is not safe to play. We will not want an injury at this stage. We’ve been playing some good cricket.”

Kohli is now focused on his next challenge against Pakistan on Sunday. “A couple of practice sessions and we should be fine. It’s only about getting game time and that should happen on Sunday. As soon as you enter the field, it’s all calm. All the excitement and frenzy around the game could intimidate the guys who are playing for the first time. For us, it’s about executing our skills and we’re all professionals. It’s been competitive for a while now; it’s been a marquee event and it’s an honour to be a part of such an event.”

New Zealand, who had been in Nottingham longer than India since their last match against Afghanistan was on June 8, have not been able to get proper practice as well. However, skipper Kane Williamson said that his team will make good use of the time. “We have been here for four days and haven’t seen any sun, so doesn’t come as too much of a surprise for us. It’s not ideal, but at the same time, a little bit of time off is also very important in these tournaments. We do have a little break now, which I guess is an interesting period, a good chance for us to freshen up and look forward to the next challenges.”

Williamson is pleased that the break will help injured Tim Southee and Henry Nicholls to recover before the clash against South Africa on June 19. “They [Southee and Nicholls] are progressing really well. South Africa are a very good side and every time we play them there’s bit of extra competitiveness there. There are a few days before that game, so good opportunity for guys to get away, refresh and then come back ready for a couple of training [sessions] before that challenge.”

When Kohli was asked about his injured player Shikhar Dhawan, he said: “He will be in a cast for a couple of weeks, and then we’ll assess where he stands. Hopefully, he heals quickly and should be available for the latter half of our league stages, and the semi-finals as well.”