After dangerous air pollution levels threatened to interrupt the first T20 between India and Bangladesh in Delhi, there is a very real possibility that the cyclone will affect the next game of the series. Cyclone Maha is expected to land in Gujarat on November 6, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), and could cause “heavy or very heavy rains” in the state on November 7, the match day.
IMD says, “The good news, though, is that the cyclone “is very likely to intensify further till 5th November morning and weaken gradually thereafter.”
Located around the central Arab Sea on Monday morning, just over 600 kilometers from the Gujarat coast, the cyclone has been moving north-west for the last five days from near the Kerala coast. However, on Tuesday, it is expected to take a turn towards Gujarat.
Jaydev Shah, the former captain of Saurashtra, who is now the head of the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA), said all precautions had to be taken to ensure that the match takes place. He said, “We have covered the ground to make sure the match can start on time in case the rain does disrupt.”
Shah was optimistic about the match and said the weather was good so far, four days ahead of the matchday.
The Met authorities said the cyclone had intensified into an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm and is likely to cross the coast of Gujarat on Wednesday midnight or Thursday’s early hours. Rajkot is just over 100 kilometers away from the coast in central Gujarat.
ESCS MAHA centered near 18.3°N/64.6°E. about 670km WSW of Veraval(Gujarat) at 0830IST of 4th november. pic.twitter.com/q9HjLTU1Vz
— India Met. Dept. (@Indiametdept) November 4, 2019
PTI quotes IMD director Jayanta Sarkar as saying, “Severe cyclonic storm Maha lay centered at 580 kilometers southwest of Diu and 550 km southwest of Veraval. It is most likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm and make landfall between Dwarka and Diu on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning with wind speeds of 120 kilometers per hour”.
Sarkar added, “The storm will cause heavy to very heavy rains in Saurashtra [the region of which Rajkot is a part] and south Gujarat on November 6-7. It is moving towards Oman but will recurve towards the Gujarat coast on Monday.”
In the opening fixture after pulling off a seven-wicket win, Bangladesh leads the series by 1-0.