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Rain may hamper inaugural match at Christchurch

Published: Tuesday, November 28, 2000, 17:40 [IST]
 
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Christchurch: The stage is set for the commencement of the Women's World Cup, but rain appears to be a dampener as was evidenced during the opening ceremony on Tuesday.Hosts New Zealand are scheduled to meet defending champions Australia in the inaugural match on Wednesday. The forecast, however, is for rain during the early part of the day. It is likely to clear later in the day and with matches likely to go on till 8.00 pm, some cricketing action may be seen on the opening day.In case no match is possible due to rain, both the teams will split the points. The tournament was inaugurated by New Zealand's minister of Sport, Fitness and Leisure, Trevor Mallard after a ceremonial function by the Maori tribesmen at the Lincoln University complex.The groundsmen were trying hard to get the playing area ready on time for a scheduled start of play. The inaugural ceremony by the Maoris, however, was not dampened by the rain.The eight participating teams took their seats under covered podiums to the accompaniment of their respective national anthems. There are reserve days only for the semi-finals and the final.New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive Christopher Doig welcomed the teams. Mr Doig also praised the efforts of NZC women's administrator Catherine Campbell and NZC administration manager Tim Murdoch in getting the event organised.According to International Women's Cricket Council (IWCC) president Mary Britto, the rising costs were responsible for restricting the teams to eight. She hoped the tournament would produce a high quality of cricket.England and New Zealand were the first teams to assemble at Christchurch on Monday on the eve of the opening ceremony. The New Zealanders had spent a few days at home before re-assembling in Christchurch.India had a thrilling tie against their credit in their last warm up match on Monday against Wellington. Batting first India scored 147 for six and restricted Wellington to the same total with Smitha Harikrishna taking four wickets.

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