The thick, dark clouds hovered through the day at Colombo before finally deciding to break open in the evening. After an aborted attempt to put the game in jeopardy five overs into it, it rained for the second time in the break between innings and ensured that the game between West Indies and Ireland would be left without result.
In the previous edition of the World T20, England had scraped through to the Super Eights without winning a single game. With this game ending without a result, the West Indies script hasn’t been too dissimilar. How much of an effect it has on the West Indies going into the Super Eights is one to look out.
The Irish skipper William Porterfield expressed that his team had a chance to put West Indies under pressure with a few early wickets but realistically speaking, a score of 129 may not have been enough.
And the seeds of their second successive low score in the tournament were sown by captain Porterfield himself.
Before this game, Porterfield had been dismissed for a first-ball duck in four internationals – two in each of the shorter format. This included one in the previous game where a Shane Watson bouncer in the previous game saw him hook it into the laps of the fine-leg fielder.
Tonight it was a radically different delivery that ended his one-ball essay. A searing yorker from Fidel Edwards saw Irish captain jamming the bat on it a second too late. The stumps pegged back, Ireland had their second successive 0/1 in 0.1.
They seemed to recover well through Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce though. With three boundaries to each, they seemed to have built a base rather well before the first break for rain came at the stroke of the end of the fifth over.
50 minutes later and with an over reduced, captain Sammy immediately brought in Sunil Narine after the break. It proved to be a smart move, giving him a ball which was not too wet and against a pair who had to restart their innings.
A couple of them spun sharply from Narine away from Joyce before a third one sneaked through his sweep attempt to rattle the timber.
With a toehold in the door, Sammy then removed the other set batsman Stirling, caught pulling to mid-wicket.
Gary Wilson showed signs of not reading Narine, but once he had survived a gruelling over, and got a four off a paddle shot, the confidence seemed to return. At the other end, Niall O’Brien continued to be his busy self, eking out singles to rotate the strike around.
The idea was to see off Narine, get runs off the quicker one and take on any weak links that West Indies had with the injury to Dwayne Bravo and the exclusion of the out-of-confidence Dwayne Smith.
Instead, Chris Gayle’s very first over got him the wicket of the decently well-set Wilson, which he celebrated by breaking into a jig.
It was the partnership between the O’Brien brothers that had pulled Ireland out of a mire in the Australia game and for some time it looked like they had the answers again.
With Narine off, Niall went for a hook off Andre Russell that went for a six. Brother Kevin then binged on a predictable full length ball from Edwards after the fine-leg was sent out and that went sailing outside the fence.
At 96/4 in 15 and with two batsmen seemingly glued to the crease, Ireland had a chance to push their score up to 140. Instead a Gayle yorker disturbed Niall’s stumps and Kevin followed six balls later.
Trent Johnston and Nigel Jones hit a six apiece in their brief stay at the crease but Ireland were left with only 129 runs in the bank.
As if on cue, the dinner break brought the rain gods back and they feasted on the R Premadasa Stadium till the very time the game was called off. Ireland had been knocked out for losing only one game and another team had gone through with a similar result-set.
Questions about the format of the tournament were asked at the press conference that followed but is a topic for another day.