Brisbane residents have been placed on alert as stormy weather associated with Cyclone Marcia has struck Queensland. The weather remains the major talking point ahead of Australia's Cricket World Cup clash against Bangladesh on Saturday as Australia would like to test their captain Michael Clarke’s fitness in real match situation rather than in a fitness test.
Cyclone Marcia has left a trail of destruction along central Queensland as it slowly trudges southwards over land. As a category five system, it made landfall north of Yeppoon around 8:00 am and hit Rockhampton as a category three storm, lashing the town with gusts up to 200 kmph. It caused extensive damage to houses, some destroyed, some unroofed, but it is still too early and too hazardous to estimate the full damage.
With Cyclone Marcia wreaking havoc along the Queensland coast, there is a strong possibility of Saturday's match at the Gabba getting severely affected by the weather. Though conditions in Brisbane are expected to be far better than in other parts of Queensland. Also the category 5 cyclone is expected to weaken considerably by the time it reaches the capital Brisbane. However, heavy rain and gale force winds have already hit the city and are likely to continue for the rest part of the day.
The ICC World Cup organizers are working closely with authorities in Queensland prior to the match. As there is no reserve day for pool matches, they will continue to prepare in the hope that the match will go as planned. The ICC will take a decision on the match on Saturday, depending on conditions at the time.
The match can go on even with a delayed start if necessary. A match can be successfully completed if each side has minimum of 20 overs that means that it is still possible to get a result even if one inning’s time is wasted in getting the ground ready. Ticket refunds will apply only if the match is abandoned without a result and there are less than 25 overs bowled in total. Both team will share a point each, should the match be abandoned.
Meanwhile, Brisbane residents were advised to start sandbagging in preparation for the deluge, with nearly one lakh sandbags handed out by the City Council in anticipation of some floods. Many homes in Brisbane are already without power. Brisbane Airport remains operational but major airlines including Qantas and Jet star have been cautioned that flights could be delayed or even cancelled. There is heavy rain forecast for Saturday, with chances of thunderstorm and winds gusting up to 50km/h. The Australia-Bangladesh match is scheduled to start at 9.00am IST, Saturday, so it is too early to tell how the weather will have an effect on the outcome of the game.