Harrup Park
Harrup Park hosted the shortest ODI ever in WC history. (Photo Courtesy: Mackay Cricket official website)

In the build-up to the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, CricketCountry brings to you the most memorable moments and matches from the Cricket World Cup – right from its first edition, way back in 1975. With 72 days to go, in our latest World Cup Countdown, we take a look at the 1992 World Cup contest between India and Sri Lanka at Mackay that was called off after just two deliveries.

India and Sri Lanka had arrived at Mackay, Queensland following contrasting results. India had crashed to a hard-fought 9-run defeat against England at Perth. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, had chased down 313 (then a record chase) to defeat Zimbabwe at New Plymouth before losing comfortably to New Zealand at Hamilton.

The teams moved on to the picturesque Ray Mitchell Oval at Harrup Park in Mackay, referred to as the “sugar capital of Australia”. Mackay had a history of heavy rain, especially from December to March. In fact, Mackay had been hit by a bout of 878 millimetres of rainfall on February 18, 1958; it had resulted in a flood that had gone up to 9.14 metres, and residents had to be rescued by boats from rooftops. Mackay was a location so remote that the match was not even televised.

Unfortunately, it rained heavily from the very onset. It did not seem that there would be any play before lunch. The organisers, desperate not to let the first international match on the ground go waste, used helicopters to dry the pitch. It helped dry the pitch, but perhaps not as fast as the organisers would have wanted to.

The Indians, meanwhile, came out at what was supposed to be the lunch interval — much to the joy of the small crowd — presumably under the supervision of Dr Ali Irani. “The only entertainment was afforded by the aerobic dancing of the Indian players seeking exercise at the lunch interval,” Wisden later wrote. When the match eventually resumed, the umpires had no option but to reduce the match to a 20-over contest.

Mohammad Azharuddin surprised everyone by sending Kapil Dev to open batting with Krishnamachari Srikkanth after Aravinda de Silva put India in. It was the first time the legend would bat at the top for his country. Making his ODI debut was Kapil’s Haryana teammate Ajay Jadeja.

Aravinda threw the ball to Champaka Ramanayake. Srikkanth defended the first ball and managed a single off the next before the skies opened again. The players ran back to the pavilion. The rain never stopped, and once past the stipulated time, David Shepherd and Ian Robinson had to declare the match abandoned.

What followed?

India and Sri Lanka beat Pakistan and South Africa respectively. Both of them beat Zimbabwe as well. India finished seventh and Sri Lanka eighth on the points table, both with 5 points.

Kapil opened batting against Zimbabwe at Hamilton later in that World Cup and scored 10. He opened only once more, at Motera against West Indies in 1993-94, but scored a solitary run.

Of ODIs where at least one ball has been bowled, the match remains the shortest ODI till date. However, there have been 2 instances of a match being abandoned after toss, which makes them the shortest matches:

Brief Scores: India 1/0 in 0.2 overs vs Sri Lanka