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No-ball scuffle: Frustrated Pant claims the 3rd umpire should have intervened

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The third umpire should have “interfered” to adjudicate on the no-ball non-call in the last over of Delhi Capitals’ match against Rajasthan Royals on Friday evening, according to Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant. He said that sticking to the on-field decision had been  “precious” for his team, who had lost the match by 15 runs. Shane Watson, the team’s assistant coach, disagreed with Pant, stating the umpire’s decision had to be “accepted,” and separating himself from the subsequent theatrics, which included Pant requesting his hitters, Rovman Powell and Kuldeep Yadav, to walk out.

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It was a hip-high full-toss from Obed McCoy that Powell pulled for a six in the last over of the Capitals’ pursuit of the Royals’ 222. Powell had just blasted three sixes in a row after starting the over with 36 runs needed. The six was signalled, but the Capitals anticipated a no-ball for height as well, which would have taken a run off the mark and given them a free-hit, allowing Powell to repeat MS Dhoni’s feat from the night before. However, there was no signal, and the on-field umpires, Nitin Menon and Nikhil Patwardhan, were questioned by both Powell and Kuldeep.

Pant and the rest of the Capitals dugout were also spotted gesticulating from the dugout, urging their batters to continue the debate despite the fact that the rules don’t allow a no-ball to be referred until a wicket is being reviewed.

Pant even instructed his batsmen to walk off after seeing the umpires stick to their guns, while Royals’ legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal was spotted attempting to prevent Kuldeep from doing so. Pant then requested that another of the Capitals’ assistant coaches, Pravin Amre, step in and speak with the umpires. Watson attempted to calm Pant at the same moment. Pant was approached by Jos Buttler, who had previously struck a match-winning century. Buttler was enraged by Pant’s conduct.

The game was ultimately restarted, but the Capitals lost because McCoy’s line was fixed and he bowled slower.

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Pant later came out in defence of his behaviour. “In the end, Powell gave us a chance,” he told Pommie Mbangwa in the post-match briefing with the host broadcaster. “I thought that no-ball could have been precious for us. I thought we could have checked that no-ball, but [that is] not in my control. Yes, disappointed, but can’t do much about it.”

The umpires’ failure to refer the legality of the third delivery had left the Capitals camp “frustrated,” Pant added. “It was visible to everyone on the ground. I believe the third umpire should have intervened and called it a no-ball, but I can’t change the regulation.”

When asked by Mbangwa if he regretted asking Amre to go in and talk to the umpires, Pant admitted that he had made an error, but reasoned “obviously, it wasn’t right, but what happened wasn’t also right”. “It was heat of the moment, can’t do much about it,” he said. “I think it was fault of both the sides, not only us, because throughout the tournament we have been seeing some good umpiring. I thought we could have done pretty well.”

Watson: ‘Have to accept umpire’s decision’

Pant may have been distracted by the Capitals’ constant need to catch up throughout the game, according to Watson. “What occurred in the last over was quite frustrating,” said Watson adding, “Unfortunately, we were in that position in the game because we were not able to put things together for long enough throughout that game up until that point.

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“In the end, the one thing at the Delhi Capitals you don’t stand for is what happened. The umpires’ decision, whether it’s right wrong, we have to accept it. Someone running onto the field certainly we can’t accept. It’s not good enough.”

Watson agreed that the Royals were able to recover as a result of the halt. During the play-off break, Sanju Samson chatted with McCoy about redrawing his bowling strategy for the final three deliveries, in which he only gave up three runs and had Powell caught off the last ball.

“There is no question when there is a big stoppage in play like that, it can change the momentum,” Watson said. “It gave McCoy a little bit of time to regroup as well. That stoppage did play into Rajasthan Royals’ hands. It was an unfortunate stoppage. In the end, the thing is you got to accept the umpires’ decision no matter what it is – whether it is a good one or not so good one. You have just got to get on with the game.

“We are always taught as youngsters all the way through that we have got to accept the umpires’ decision. That’s what we should have done.”

Sangakkara: ‘Umpires control the game’

When he spoke, Samson decided to brush aside the controversy. “It went for a six, it was a full toss,” Samson told the host broadcaster. “Umpire gave it a normal ball. Batsman wanted it as a no-ball actually. Umpire made his decision very clear.”

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Kumar Sangakkara, the Royals’ team director, also kept a low profile at the post-match news conference. “It is umpires that control the game,” he said. “I know the IPL has a lot of pressure, lot of tension and things can go either way. I don’t think I can really dictate what’s acceptable and what’s not.”

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