Lightning won't strike twice for Black Caps

HAMISH BIDWELL IN CHITTAGONG
Last updated 09:00 26/03/2014
Brendon McCullum
Getty Images
NOT AGAIN: Brendon McCullum and his team will walk off the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium if lightning strikes twice.

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It won't matter whether there's a semifinal at stake or not.

Brendon McCullum and his Black Caps team will walk off the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, if lightning strikes twice during this World Twenty20 tournament.

McCullum and Kane Williamson were the New Zealand batsmen at the crease when an electrical storm erupted near the ground, during the fifth over of their chase for 173 to beat England.

The players remained on the field for a further over, before umpires Aleem Dar and Paul Reiffel allowed everyone to flee the playing arena once rain began to fall.

New Zealand were later declared winners, via the Duckworth-Lewis Method, after being ahead of the target score for 5.2 overs. Five overs are required to constitute a legitimate Twenty20 innings, but McCullum doesn't believe the sides should've been out there to complete that many.

A far more powerful thunder storm erupted after Sri Lanka's abbreviated clash with The Netherlands on Monday night (Bangladesh time) raising the prospect that similar could occur again while a game is in progress.

"I don't think it's worth playing when lightning's around,'' McCullum said.

"People can say it's on the horizon or it's not over the top of the stadium, but if it hits 200 metres away you're still in big trouble, let alone in the middle of a stadium that's got four light towers standing above it.

"It's a game of cricket, we all play hard, but ultimately lightning's lightning - you don't mess with it.''

England captain Stuart Broad was later fined so expressing the view that the umpires should've called an immediate halt to proceedings, last Sunday morning (NZT). McCullum believes Broad was right.

"I was surprised we played on the other day and the conversations I've had after, and even during it, were that it was unsafe to be out there,'' he said.

"I hope they [the umpires] make a different judgement [next time] and I think we got away with it the other day to be honest.

"It was pretty frightening and lightning is not something we want to be messing with, I don't think. I know some people will say you need to play on, get on with it, harden up, but we saw someone lost their life in Cape Town last year when the whole team got hit and that [strike] was about 250 metres away.

"We've also seen soccer players go down and things like that, so I don't think it's worth it for a game of cricket.''

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The lightning after the Sri Lanka-Netherlands game was almost constant and felt very close at times. It also caused a downpour that quickly flooded roads and what few footpaths there are in Chittagong. The city's power supply was also effected.

On the back of their two-run loss to South Africa, New Zealand have been in recovery mode. They didn't train yesterday and won't today either, with gym work outs and golf the extent of their exertions.

McCullum's back is causing him obvious discomfort, although he said he would definitely be playing when his team meet The Netherlands on Saturday night (NZT).

Once they do resume practicing tomorrow, McCullum said finding more consistency in their bowling would be among the things everyone would be striving towards.

- Fairfax Media

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