The West Indies will have one eye on the skies and the other on the scoreboard as they seek to keep their World Cup campaign alive in a must-win clash with the United Arab Emirates tomorrow.
The two-time champions’ hopes of a quarter-final berth hinge on a convincing victory in Napier after a series of unconvincing performances in Pool B, including a shock loss to Ireland.
They currently lie fifth in the group and to advance must snatch fourth place off Pakistan or Ireland, who play each other on Sunday in Adelaide.
But a cyclone thousands of kilometres away in the South Pacific could blow away their chances if it brings heavy rainfall to New Zealand’s North Island by Sunday.
A washout would send Jason Holder’s men tumbling out of the tournament—they need two points from a victory, the solitary point awarded for a no-result will not be enough.
Forecasters say a cyclone-related downpour is due on Monday, although the New Zealand weather is notoriously fickle and they warn rain is still possible on Sunday.
Team manager Richie Richardson was confident the weather gods would smile on the West Indies.
“It’ll be fine on Sunday,” the former batting great told the local Hawkes Bay Today newspaper.
“We have to play the game to give ourselves a chance so we want sunshine. We need two points badly and we need it big.”
Further complicating matters, the West Indies must soundly beat the UAE by 70 runs or more to ensure they have a better run rate than Pakistan and Ireland.
Holder is also sweating on the fitness of key batsman Chris Gayle, who missed training on Wednesday as he struggled with a back injury.