During the chase, Zimbabwe fast bowler Richard Ngarava slipped and had to be taken off, even as the umpires kept the players on the field. Finally, the match was abandoned with South Africa on 51 without loss in three overs chasing Zimbabwe’s 79/5 in nine-overs-a-side game in a Super 12 Group 2 match of the ICC T20 World Cup here on Monday.
Asked for an update on Ngarava, Houghton said, “He is lying in the changing with a bunch of ice strapped to his ankle, so I think it’s a little too early to assess the real damage. But, obviously, we’re not too happy about the fact that he is not in a great space at the moment for bowling at the moment. We’ll just see. We will have to monitor over the next days.”
On whether he was disappointed the umpires didn’t take the call of abandoning the match much earlier, the coach said he was not averse to playing in “slightly inclement weather” but definitely not in unplayable conditions.
“Look, I understand the need to try to get these games for the public and for everybody else and the TV people watching. I understand the need for us to try and play in slightly inclement weather to get a result, but I thought we overstepped that mark in this game, and I thought there was probably four or five overs we should have come off. I don’t think we should have even bowled a ball to be fair.”
The coach said he felt helpless sitting in the dressing room as the decision-making on the field is in the hands of the umpires.
“The umpires are those guys making those decisions out in the middle, and they seemed to think it was fit to play. And I disagree with them, but there’s nothing I can do off the field.”
Asked to clarify if he would confirm that the conditions were unsafe, Houghton said, “I thought the rain had got so heavy at once, it was ridiculous. For most of the evening, night time, it was misty, sort of mizzle and stuff, but it got to the stage where we could hear it thumping on the rooftop in the dugout. To me that’s no longer mizzle and drizzle. That’s time to get off the field.
“The field was wet. It was wet when we started. It was wet when South Africa fielded, so there were difficult conditions for both sides. It got more and more wet as we bowled. When your keeper is sliding trying to move down the leg side standing up to the spinners, it’s too wet. I don’t think the conditions were right to carry on playing.”
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