There was little Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) could do when the heavens decided to open up. In Dharamsala, when it rains, it pours, going on for days on end.
HPCA has a tradition of offering prayers at the local temple called Indru Nag in order to keep the rains at bay, but this time around, like the state government, the rain gods too refused to give any concession to the hosting association.
The rains started on March 10, washing away any chance of a practice session before coming back in full force the next day. Both the matches were cancelled without a ball being bowled and with it also went away Netherlands and Ireland’s chances of advancing, with both teams having a total of just three hours of play time under their belt.
“Dharamsala is known for its fickle weather. So we have this tradition of pooja. The temple is part of local religious beliefs and what’s the harm in a little prayer if it can help keep the rain at bay. We do this pooja before every important match that the venue hosts and till now we have successfully conducted many events with rains staying away. But this time around, I can only say it’s down to luck,” said HPCA media secretary Mohit Sood.
On the last day of the qualifier, March 13, the rains came back with a vengeance, forcing the Netherlands and Ireland to play a truncated match of just six overs a side with HPCA keeping its fingers crossed so that a sizeable Sunday crowd got to witness the full Bangladesh-Oman match which was played later in the evening.