India v Pakistan: Rain threat to Asia Cup 2023 showdown in Kandy

Heavy showers forecast as South Asian neighbours prepare for 50-over clash in Sri Lanka on Saturday

India captain Virat Kohli and his Pakistan counterpart Babar Azam will go head-to-head again at the 2023 Asia Cup. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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The Asia Cup 2023 tournament got off to a rousing start with Pakistan completing a massive 238-run win over Nepal in Multan, captain Babar smashing a majestic 151.

Just as Pakistan fans were warming up to the tournament they were hosting for the first time in 15 years, the tournament has moved to Sri Lanka – the co-hosts of the tournament due to India’s objection to playing in Pakistan.

The island nation will thus host the bulk of the matches, including the blockbuster showdown between India and Pakistan on Saturday in Kandy.

Pakistan landed in Sri Lanka on Thursday, a day after the Indians. While the team in green have been in superb form, climbing to the top of the ODI rankings, their neighbours have been in a state of flux, struggling with fitness of key players and team combination.

However, the highly-charged atmosphere of an India-Pakistan match is known to do strange things to teams and players, with recent form counting for little.

Even so, Babar Azam v Virat Kohli, Shaheen Afridi v Rohit Sharma will be some of the many amazing match-ups that promise to enthrall fans, especially because the 50-over format allows for a more drawn out battle, unlike recent T20 encounters between the sides.

While fans are counting down the hours to the first of hopefully many clashes between the South Asian heavyweights over the next three months – at the Asia Cup and the ODI World Cup – a major stumbling block has emerged.

Is there a chance of rain during India v Pakistan match?

The weather in Kandy is far from encouraging, with the region experiencing heavy monsoon showers.

According to reports, the tournament organisers were warned about the inclement weather expected in the coming weeks in Kandy, with Dambulla apparently proposed as an alternate venue.

However, the Pallekele stadium will host India’s group match against Pakistan and Nepal (on Monday) with rain likely on both days.

On Saturday, the forecast is for heavy showers throughout the day. According to the UK’s Met Office and the BBC, there is a 60-70 per cent chance of precipitation.

Sri Lanka’s department of meteorology has issued an alert for extremely heavy rain in 10 districts including Kandy on Friday.

However, there is still some hope. During the previous India-Pakistan clash at the 2022 T20 World Cup in Melbourne, the forecast was 80 per cent chance of rain and an almost certain washout. However, not only did we get a full match, it was an all-time great game with Virat Kohli pulling off one of the most unlikely wins in white-ball cricket.

Updated: August 31, 2023, 3:20 PM