Team India, it seems has been jinxed with a 'rain-spell' ever since it travelled to Sri Lankan capital in August. Wherever the team plays, weather gods unleash their prowess to the fullest.
On Thursday, however, heavy rain dealt its cruelest blow of all - not only pouring cold water on Sachin's comeback sizzler, but also ensuring that Windies escaped with a sneaky 29-run victory.
Chasing a mammoth target of 309 runs after a superlative batting performance by the maestro who smashed an unbeaten 141, Windies motored along on its run-chase, compilling 141 runs for the loss of just 2 wickets in 20 overs.
No team shared the advantage at that point and the match was open to any result. Even though Indian bowlers were sloppy, there was always a chance of a maniacal batting collapse.
Rain, however, came down heavy at the sparsely-crowded Kinrara Oval stadium and refused to cease. The umpires recalculated the target for 20 overs, and to Dravid's horror, ruled that West Indies were ahead of the target by 29 runs.
Considering the fact that Tendulkar picked up the man-of the-match award, India will be ruing its bad luck on Thursday as it looked too good for the Caribs. But it paid a heavy price for RP Singh and Irfan Pathan's wayward fare.
The next match of the tournament is scheduled for Saturday between India and Australia.
West Indies hopes of kicking off their run-chase on a flyer, was dealt a severe blow when the star of the first ODI - Shivnariane Chanderpaul - departed for just 6 runs early on in the game.
RP Singh replacing ineffective Pathan (2 overs- 11 runs), proved to be even more expensive, but more importantly was the nemesis of the WI bat.
However, much to Dravid's surprise, Chris Gayle adopted a counter-attacking style of play and along with Sarwan to push Indians on the back-foot.
The next 39 balls to him contained 9 hits to the fence, tormenting the Indian bowlers in the process. Careless RP Singh was singled out for special treatment.
Even after he departed, his brief blitzkreig set a strong platform for other Caribbean batsmen to follow.
Brian Lara and Ramesh Sarwan, this time ensured there was no hiccups and the opener's effort would not go in vain.
The duo pushed along the scoring rate, with Lara taking a uncanny fancy to Harbhajan Singh's wayward fare. His only six off the spinner kept travelling in a line parallel to the ground.
Vintage Sachin (next page)»