England's rain-delayed match against Zimbabwe was abandoned in the 17th over of the home team's innings.
Play finally began more than five hours late at 1550 BST and an attempt was made to play 25 overs per side.
But the guidelines meant that as soon as any further interruptions hit play, the match had to be called off.
As it was, England were struggling at 81-4, with only their captain Michael Vaughan (35 not out) defying bowler-friendly conditions to find some much-needed form.
In the search for quick runs early on, Vikram Solanki and Marcus Trescothick both fell in the third over, bowled by Heath Streak.
Grant Flower took both catches positioned at fourth slip - the second was an absolute blinder.
When Chris Read, promoted up the order, was run out moments later, things looked bleak for England with the score 13-3.
It was no better at 32-4 when Andrew Flintoff powered Andy Blignaut on the leg-side only to pick out the only man on the boundary, Travis Friend.
On a very sporting wicket I thought if we could get to 140 we would be in for a game
Vaughan and Anthony McGrath used their local nous to stabilise the England innings, but the run rate never really picked up and Zimbabwe were left to rue the weather when the heavens opened again.
For the record Kabir Ali, replacing spinner Ashley Giles, made something of an unusual debut in a match in which he did not bowl, bat or field.
Zimbabwe skipper Streak said: "As players we want to get a result and do something for the crowd.
"When you have to share points it always affects the table at the end so it's always a disappointment not to finish a game."
Vaughan added: "It is a little bit disappointing, especially when there are so many people
in the ground, for one rain break to end the game.
"The light is pretty good up until 9pm."
England: MP Vaughan (capt), ME Trescothick, VS
Solanki, JO Troughton, A Flintoff, A McGrath, CMW Read (wkt), RL Johnson, K Ali, D Gough, JM Anderson.
Zimbabwe: HH Streak (capt), DA Marillier, DD Ebrahim, TJ Friend, GW Flower, T Taibu (wkt), S Matsikenyeri, SM Ervine, AM Blignaut, D Hondo, GB Brent.