The MA Chidambaram Stadium, also known as Chepauk, is one of the oldest and most iconic cricket venues in India. It has hosted many memorable matches in the past, including the first ever Test match in India in 1934, the tied Test between India and Australia in 1986, and the World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka in 2011.
The stadium is set to host five matches in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, starting with the clash between India and Australia on Sunday, October 7. Here is what to expect from the pitch and weather conditions at Chepauk during the tournament.
The pitch at Chepauk is made up of black soil with more clay content than the red soil. This makes the pitch more durable and less prone to deterioration. The pitch is known to be spin-friendly, but it also offers a fair balance between bat and ball. The seamers can get some bounce and movement with the new ball, while the spinners can exploit the turn and variable bounce as the match progresses.
The average first innings score at this venue in ODIs is 233. The highest team total is 337/7, scored by ACC Asian XI against ACA African XI in 2007. The lowest team total is 69, recorded by Kenya against New Zealand in 2011. The highest successful chase is 291/2, achieved by West Indies against India in 2019.
The toss-winning captain will likely prefer to bat first and put up a big score on the board. The pitch tends to slow down and offer more assistance to the spinners in the second innings. The dew factor may also come into play during the night matches, making it difficult for the bowlers to grip the ball. To counter this, anti-dew agents will be applied to the outfield before the match.
The weather in Chennai during October is usually hot and humid, with occasional showers. The average temperature during this month is around 30 degrees Celsius, with a high of 34 degrees Celsius and a low of 25 degrees Celsius. The humidity level is around 75%, making it uncomfortable for the players and spectators alike.
The chances of rain are low during this month, but not negligible. There have been instances of rain interruptions and washouts at Chepauk in the past. In 2005, two matches were curtailed due to a wet outfield despite no rain during the matches. To prevent this, the stadium has installed a soft drainage system with multi-layered soil and perforated PVC pipes to remove excess water from the ground.
The weather forecast for Sunday, October 7, is sunny with no chances of rain. The temperature will be around 32 degrees Celsius, with a high of 34 degrees Celsius and a low of 26 degrees Celsius. The humidity will be around 70%, with a wind speed of 18 kmph.
The fans can expect a clear and bright day for cricket at Chepauk on Sunday. The players will have to cope with the heat and sweat, but they will also enjoy the dry and firm conditions on offer. It will be a test of skill and stamina for both teams as they battle it out for their first win in the World Cup.