A temporary interruption to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 match between India and New Zealand due to dense fog led to several memes on social media even as the cricket pitch at picturesque Dharamshala city came in for criticism.
The match was briefly halted when low-hanging clouds and the mist engulfed the entire HPCA stadium – one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world thanks to the Dhauladhar mountain range that is a part of the majestic Himalayas in the backdrop. The stadium is located in Dharamshala in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
The Black Caps visibly looked unhappy with the situation when they talked to the on-field umpires. Kohli and Iyer soon joined the conversation.
With the weather becoming severe, the players were asked to leave the field and commentators on air clarified that the players wouldn’t go back on the field till conditions improved.
The stoppage of play gave cricket fans plenty of time to come up with some hilarious memes for the unusual situation.
One user on X/Twitter likened the fog to the entrances made by WWE star Undertaker.
“Breaking: Play stopped in Dharamsala due to undertaker’s entrance,” wrote the X user.
Another user said the fog was star player Shubman Gill’s revenge against mosquitos.
Gill had to stop playing for India briefly after he reportedly contracted dengue fever. The user was apparently likening the fog at the stadium to mosquito foggers often used in localities in India to curb the spread of mosquitos.
A few users took a dig at the disputed relations between the Indian and Pakistani cricket boards.
India were in control of their chase when the play stopped on Sunday, with Iyer scoring 21 runs off just eight deliveries. The middle-order batter struck two consecutive boundaries just before the on-field umpires signalled for the game to halt.
The play resumed after a break of just over 10 minutes. Iyer fell in the 22nd over, scoring 33 off 29 balls. Kohli went on to play until the 48th over but missed out on a record-equalling 49th ODI century by just five runs, He is still a hundred behind India great Sachin Tendulkar’s world record of 49 centuries in the 50-over format.
Meanwhile, the HPCA outfield was also one of the topics of discussion as most of the Indian players chose not to dive to save runs to avoid any potential injuries.
India captain Rohit Sharma made a sliding effort and hurt his little finger early on in the first innings, forcing him to leave the field for treatment. He, however, returned to lead the side.
The HPCA outfield first came under criticism with England captain Jos Buttler terming it as “poor” ahead of their World Cup match against Bangladesh.
“It's poor in my own opinion. I think any time you're sort of talking about being careful diving or sort of being careful when you're fielding, it sort of goes against everything you want to be as a team,” Buttler said earlier in the tournament.
“You know you want to dive through our houses to save a run. So, that’s obviously not ideal, the way the surface is, the outfield. The outfield is different to when we played here in the IPL,” he said.
Buttler’s comments came after Afghanistan head coach Jonathan Trott expressed his disapproval over the outfield in Dharamshala as well, after their match against Bangladesh.
India’s next match in the World Cup 2023 is on 29 October against England in Lucknow.
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