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So, the first ODI comes to an end then. Not the way we would have wanted the first of many, many ODIs in England this summer to end but nevertheless, we will return with better expectations for the next match! The second game of the series will be played at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on the 11th of May, Saturday! See you for the same. Till then, it is goodbye from us! Cheers.
In the minimal action we saw today, Eoin Morgan won the toss and put Pakistan into bat in a game that had its start delayed by more than an hour. The game began and all was going well, at least in terms of having an uninterrupted game for the first hour and more. Pakistan did not have the best of starts and lost Fakhar Zaman early in their innings. Babar Azam, who walked out at number 3, looked good for a bit but fell just when a partnership was building. Haris Sohail was batting along with Imam-ul-Haq in the middle when the rain started pouring. After the first break, the 47-over contest was further reduced to a 41-over contest. Post the second resumption, just 14 balls were bowled when the heavens opened. And that was the last bit of action that was meant to take place!
Bad, bad news! We will not be having anymore cricketing action in this game as the game has been CALLED OFF. The umpires did not feel that the wet, soggy patches in the outfield could be dried in time i.e. by 1945 local which was the cut-off time. Hence, they have decided that's that! The two teams shake hands in the dressing room balcony and bring an end to a really dull, glum start to the series building up to the World Cup.
Update 1906 local - Oh no! We were meant to resume action at 1900 local but there is an issue with one particular area on the outfield. The umpires are out there and having a discussion on what must be done. We have about just under 40 minutes for the game to resume or else it will be all over for this match.
Update 1855 local - The umpires have done their inspection and what we are hearing is that the resumption should be according to what was planned i.e at 1900 local, in about 5 minutes from now. And hopefully the rain does not show up this time post the resumption. It is sunny as of now.
Update 1815 local - The umpires get out to inspect the conditions and have decided to have another look in 25 minutes. If everything is fine, we will have resumption at 1900 local. Let's keep our fingers crossed...
Update 1720 local - It has stopped raining out there and the sun is slightly peeping out. The heavy rain though means some work needs to be done to dry out the field to get it ready for play. Don't be too fooled by the sun coming out though, it has played hide and seek all day. Let's hope the rain has gone away once and for all. Meanwhile, the news is that there will be an inspection at 1800 local!
Update 1643 local - The rain is a steady one now and the full square covers are on. In for another significant delay most likely. Stay tuned and let's stay hopeful..
Update 1625 local - Umbrellas are up again. The sun has disappeared. The players are leaving the field. It has not started to rain yet, just a very slight drizzle but we are off, maybe in anticipation. Hover cover is placed near the pitch. Thus, another stoppage but by the looks of it, this one should not be too long. Hope play resumes real soon, stay tuned for updates...
18.6ARashid to HSohail
Stumping chance missed! Sohail survives. Rashid comes up with a top spinner around middle and off, Sohail premeditates his charge down the track as he attempts for a big shot across the line. The ball skids past his blade and Buttler doesn't collect it properly mainly due to the extra bounce. The ball gets stuck to the left of Jos as he initially looks to take the bails off with his right hand. He then realizes and just quietly jogs across to the other end as Haris plants his bat in quickly. An opportunity missed for England.
18.5ARashid to ImamImam
Rashid drags his length back just a bit and Imam goes back to punch it down to long on. A single taken.
18.4ARashid to ImamImam
Tossed up delivery landing full on middle, Imam is forward as he defends it close to his front pad.
18.3ARashid to HSohail
Walks forward to a full ball and easily flicks it through mid-wicket for a run.
18.2ARashid to HSohail
A leg spinner on the leg stump line, Sohail fails to flick and it goes off his pads to square leg.
18.1ARashid to ImamImam
Starts with a loopy delivery on middle, Imam takes it on the full and forces it down to long on for a run.
Time for some delicious leg spin. Adil Rashid is introduced into the attack from this end, replacing Joe Root. A slip is in place...
17.6BenStokes to ImamImam
Played to the point region by the batsman. One run added to the total.
17.5BenStokes to ImamImam
FOUR! A well-controlled pull shot this time, fine timing and placement too and Imam has a boundary to his name. Stokes tries to bounce out the southpaw but Imam is easily on top of the delivery as he thumps it behind square leg.
17.4BenStokes to ImamImam
Turns it off his pads to the leg side but finds the fielder.
17.3BenStokes to ImamImam
Short ball again, jumping onto the batsman, Imam mistimes his pull shot on the leg side.
17.2BenStokes to ImamImam
Bangs in a short ball around off, Imam sways away from the line.
17.1BenStokes to ImamImam
Stokes balls this short on off, cross seamed delivery, Short and wide. Imam tries to cut it but fails to connect.
Ben Stokes is back into the attack with the Oval bathed in sunshine.
16.6JoeRoot to HSohail
A slider on off, skidding back in from around off, Sohail punches it off his back foot to extra cover.
16.5JoeRoot to ImamImam
Tossed up ball on middle, it's turned behind square leg for a run.
Sun is shining now. We can see some blue sky also. The players and the match officials are walking out to the centre. It's now 41 overs per side match. Joe Root to complete his over...
Update 1605 local - The rain did stop briefly and the umpires had walked out while the side covers were being removed. The hopes of resumption soon just seemed to be budding but the rain comes pelting down almost immediately. Covers back on!
...and the drizzle has picked up intensity now. The players are rushing off the field and the hover cover has come out quickly to protect the surface. It's going to be that kind of a day. Right then, rain and hail have stopped play currently. Stay tuned for more updates.
16.4JoeRoot to HSohail
Quicker and on the pads, helped in the gap at square leg for one.
16.3JoeRoot to ImamImam
Pushed to the cover region by the batsman. They pick up a single.
Umbrellas are going up. Some spots of rain in the air.
16.2JoeRoot to ImamImam
Leans forward to a full ball and defends it to the off side.
16.1JoeRoot to ImamImam
FOUR! Back-to-back boundaries for Pakistan! Root is on the shorter side first up in this over and Imam goes deep inside the crease to whack it through point for a cracking boundary.
15.6LPlunkett to HSohail
FOUR! Straight as an arrow. Fuller length on off, Sohail drives it back past the bowler. Archer chases the ball from mid off and gives a dive near the fence but the ball wins the race. That's class from Haris.
15.5LPlunkett to HSohail
A well-directed bouncer. Sohail ducks under it.
15.4LPlunkett to ImamImam
Plunkett bowls this back of a length on leg, Imam flicks it to mid-wicket for a single.
15.3LPlunkett to HSohail
A back of a length on off, Sohail punches it towards the cover region with pure timing, single taken.
15.2LPlunkett to ImamImam
A length delivery on off, Imam flicks it towards the square leg region for a run.
Angry dark clouds are slowly enveloping the stadium. They are looking threatening. But as of now, it's good to go...
15.1LPlunkett to ImamImam
Plunkett bowls this too full on middle and off, Imam digs it out.
Drinks break. Slow going from Pakistan after losing two top order wickets. England have bowled with a lot of intent and have kept things tight. The conditions have assisted them too but it's not unplayable. Imam is slowly finding his groove and Sohail has also looked quite settled in his short stay. It's all about how they recover in the middle phase and England's spinners perform.
14.6JoeRoot to HSohail
A touch short in length and on off, Sohail goes on the back foot and punches it to covers.
14.5JoeRoot to ImamImam
Flatter and fuller on off, Imam forces his drive back to the bowler who dives and parries it towards extra cover. They cross as the fielder scores a direct hit at the bowler's end. No harm done.
14.4JoeRoot to HSohail
Another push through the gap at covers and the batsmen cross for a run.
14.3JoeRoot to ImamImam
Leans forward to a full ball and pushes it with soft hands to covers for one.