Day 1 of the World Test Championship (WTC) final featuring India and New Zealand was totally washed out even without the toss. Weather predictions in Southampton over the next week or so are hardly encouraging, leaving cricket lovers worried.
Rain-affected games can often add spice to cricketing contests. However, there is also a risk of the game getting called off altogether.
Should the final be washed out, India and New Zealand will be declared joint-winners of the inaugural World Test Championship. However, the same would act as a dampener for weeks of build-up. So one hopes that the WTC final between the two top-class sides gets a befitting finish.
There have been previous occasions when International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament finals have been affected by rain.
The 2003 and 2007 World Cup finals were affected by rain and bad light. But on both occasions, Australia emerged victorious, beating India and Sri Lanka respectively in the respective summit clashes.
Incidentally, there has been only one ICC tournament final that has ended in a no-result, the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy final between India and Sri Lanka.
Story of the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy final featuring India and Sri Lanka
India were on a high after a successful England tour. They won the 2002 Natwest Series a few months back before drawing the subsequent Test series against England. The Natwest final win over England was a big boost for India as their recent record in summit clashes wasn't the best before their triumph at Lord's.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, were near unbeatable at home in the early 2000s. Just before the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy, they had won the 2002 Morocco Cup, a tournament also featuring Pakistan and South Africa.
India met a confident Sri Lanka side in the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy final. The Islanders had just defeated Australia in the semi-finals. India, meanwhile, beat Zimbabwe, England and South Africa en route to the summit clash. An exciting contest beckoned, but the rain gods had other plans and there were not one but two finals.
In the original final played on 29th September, Sri Lanka batted first. They set India a target of 245 runs. The Men In Blue were 14 without loss before the skies opened.
In the replay final, Sri Lanka set India a target of 223 runs. India were 38/1 before the game was affected by rain.
India and Sri Lanka were then declared joint winners of the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy.
The sad bit is that an exciting 2002 ICC Champions Trophy has become one of the forgotten ICC tournaments because of the final result. One hopes that the 2021 ICC WTC final doesn't suffer the same fate.