India were suffering an embarrassing defeat to South Africa in the second T20 international, after an inept batting effort, but things only got worse for the hosts as the crowd at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack decided to bring a halt to the proceedings by showering the ground with bottles, bottles and more bottles – yes, only plastic, but it still wasn't a pretty picture.
In scenes reminiscent of the 1996 World Cup semifinal – OK, not that bad – the crowd in Cuttack, first decided to show their true feelings after India were bowled out for a mere 92 in 17.2 overs.
The good thing about the ropes being brought in considerably for the limited-overs matches is that, it keeps the crowd further away from the ropes, and the vast majority of the bottles thrown over failed to reach the playing area – although it is surprising they had bottles to start with, considering the crowd aren't allowed to carry them in, and even if they buy a drink at the stadium, it is usually poured in a plastic cup, just so such scenes can be avoided.
First, the bottles were thrown during the innings break, and after the announcer seemed to calm down the crowd, play resumed on time, with South Africa looking to chase down the small total.
After a three-wicket burst from R Ashwin gave India hope of an improbably victory, JP Duminy and Farhaan Behardien steadied the ship again to take the Proteas to 64 for three in 11 overs, needing another 29 from 54 balls.
That was another cue, apparently, for the crowd to act up again, and bottle after bottle came raining down onto the ground, albeit without actually reaching the playing area.
However, this time the unruly crowd forced the umpires to stop the match for a considerable period of time – 27 minutes to be exact – before play started again, only for it to be suspended again after two more overs were bowled, with SA on 70/3 in 13 overs.
There was a long, long wait after that as the crowd from where the bottles were being thrown were cleared out of the stadium, with the match referee and umpires waiting for that to be completed before resuming the match.
It was unnecessary really, as both teams would have been happy to go home, with South Africa well ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis method, and India knowing fully well the match was well and truly done.
Play did resume nearly half an hour after the second long disruption, and South Africa duly chased down the total.