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Rain expected to clear for Prime Minister's XI

The Prime Minister's XI cricket match at Manuka Oval was abandoned last year due to the rain.

The Prime Minister's XI cricket match at Manuka Oval was abandoned last year due to the rain. Photo: Graham Tidy

West Indies master blaster Chris Gayle will have the perfect platform to showcase his dynamic hitting in Tuesday’s Prime Minister’s XI encounter in Canberra.

The Bureau of Meteorology said don't be put off by the heavy rain expected on Tuesday morning. 

I'm excited by the opportunity to play for the Prime Minister's XI and to be at Manuka Oval in the first game under lights. 

Queanbeyan product and former Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin

And Manuka Oval curator Brad Van Dam said the ground had coped well with the wet conditions of the past 48 hours and expected an ideal pitch for one-day cricket.

West Indies' Chris Gayle hammered a remarkable 146 off just 89 balls in the corresponding fixture three years ago.

West Indies' Chris Gayle hammered a remarkable 146 off just 89 balls in the corresponding fixture three years ago. Photo: Reuters

Light rain fell at Manuka Oval on Monday morning, but is expected to clear for when the West Indies arrive in the afternoon for a practice session.

BOM forecaster Katarina Kovacevic said 10-20 millimetres of rain were expected to fall on Tuesday morning, with a few scattered showers in the afternoon before clearing up in the evening.

Despite the rain, she was expecting  a warm day with a top of 28 degrees dropping to 17 degrees at night.

Only the magpies enjoyed last year's Prime Minister's XI.

Only the magpies enjoyed last year's Prime Minister's XI. Photo: Graham Tidy

''During the morning we'll see some pretty decent falls and it should taper off in the afternoon,'' Kovacevic said.

''If you bring an umbrella for when the game starts, by the end of the game you won't need it anymore.''

Cricket ACT will breathe a sigh of relief after last year’s match with Sri Lanka was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled.

That cost the organisation upwards of $100,000, however this time around it had invested in rain insurance to cover itself financially.

‘‘I think we will see lots of runs,’’ Van Dam said on Monday.

‘‘The deck is very, very hard. 

‘‘It’s looking very good and I think it’ll be a bit of a run feast.’’

That’ll be exactly what Gayle wants to hear, as the most devastating batsman in world cricket returns to the scene of one his most impressive knocks.

Gayle hammered a remarkable 146 off just 89 balls in the corresponding fixture three years ago.

However, that was achieved in a day game, while Tuesday’s match will be the first played at Manuka Oval under the newly-installed $5.347 million lights.

‘‘That’s the unknown factor - playing under lights for the first time,’’ Van Dam said.

‘‘Because they’re starting at 2 o’clock and not 10 o’clock, there won’t be much humidity around and the ball won’t be swinging too much.

‘‘Unless there’s torrential rain for the whole day tomorrow (the game will be called off), but otherwise we’re full steam ahead.’’

Retired great Ricky Ponting will arrive in Canberra on Monday afternoon to captain the Prime Minister’s XI before both teams attend a reception with Prime Minister Julia Gillard at The Lodge on Monday night.

Queanbeyan product and former Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has returned after his stint as skipper of the PM’s XI last year was washed out.

‘‘I’m excited by the opportunity to play for the Prime Minister’s XI and to be at Manuka Oval in the first game under lights,’’ Haddin said on Monday morning.‘‘I had an opportunity to look out there an hour ago and it looks like it’ll be a pretty exciting night with the lights in.

‘‘It’s always a carnival atmosphere and with the West Indies here, they’ll entertain the crowd.’’

Only tickets in the gold and silver categories remain for the inaugural cricket match in Canberra under lights.

Tickets are available at Ticketek, with the match starting at 2.20pm.

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