As the West Indies were in pursuit of the stiff target Sri Lanka had set them in the first semifinal on Thursday, a strong hailstorm combined with heavy rain and strong winds disrupted the game at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium.
Thick stones falling from the sky had the West Indies batsmen Darren Sammy and Marlon Samuels running for cover towards the dressing room. It continued to rain for the next half an hour and the ground had almost turned into a lake.
The 40-odd groundsmen in covered the ground with thick plastic sheets. Such was the force of the rain that water seeped through the cover onto the pitch. Looking at the way it rained on Thursday night, followed by continuous downpour in the wee hours of Friday, it was difficult to imagine the second women's (England vs South Africa) and men's (India vs South Africa) would start on time. However, the state-of-the-art facilities installed by the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) saw the ground all dried up as if it never rained. Both the matches were held on time.
The BCB has been praised for its efforts to make the ground ready for the semifinals so quickly.
Syed Abdul Bateen, venue manager, was not a worried man even though the forecast said it could rain again on Friday. "This is nothing new for us. In Bangladesh, storm and cyclones keep coming and the weather is unpredictable. We experience a lot of things. However, we aren't afraid about them and are confident of facing them," said Bateen, who looks after the grounds for BCB.
Bangladesh witness devastating cyclones, originating from the Bay of Bengal during the months April-May and September-November. They have a tropical monsoon-type climate.
Mateen looks after the stadium that includes an indoor academy and a couple of other academies around the stadium, along with 40-odd support staff and Sri Lankan Gamini Silva, who is the curator. "Apart from the technology we have like Super Sopper, hovercraft pitch cover that we got before the 2011 World Cup, we have a 29-inch drainage pipe from the centre to the end the ground which keeps sucking water.
Basically, we have the modern day drainage facilities. Even if it rains likes cats and dogs, the match can be resumed after 30 minutes," he said.
"We have the staff that works from 6 am to 6 pm. The work mostly is done manually here since labour is cheap. We have 75 per cent staff on pay roll while 25 per cent are on per day basis," added Mateen.
Mateen said the board is giving a lot of emphasis on the stadium's infrastructure. "We are not only laying emphasis on the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium but also on other grounds. If you go to the stadium in Sylhet, you will feel like being in New Zealand because it is in the middle of tea gardens.
"Earlier, Sher-e-Bangla was a football and athletics stadium. Once we acquired it from the government, we changed it into a proper stadium with the modern facilities. It cost us around 2 crore Takas to have such advanced drainage facilties," he said.