Lightning has killed 22 people, mostly farm laborers working in fields, across the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

The state's chief minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, says the fatalities occurred Sunday evening when thunderstorms and rain lashed eight districts in Andhra Pradesh.

A district cricket official says two women's cricket teams had a narrow escape when lightning struck a tree on the grounds where they were playing in Guntur town.

Lightning strikes are common during India's monsoon season, which runs from June to September. However, Sunday's toll was unusually high.

Weather officials in the Andhra Pradesh state capital of Hyderabad said a low pressure system over the Bay of Bengal led to heavy downpours.