Intense and ever competitive cricket battles are requiring players and fans to push their concentration levels to an all-new high. The same is true for the umpires as well. Considering what is at stake today, the good ol’ umpires today are to come up with right decisions, in every match. But then, the game’s judges are humans as well. Thus, umpiring mistakes are a common sight. Intermittent errors are digested without any fuzz by the spectators and the players alike. But what when such misjudgements occur at the most crucial times of a contest? And even worse so, what when such flawed calls have a negative impact over the outcome of the game?
If an umpire calls a no-ball that isn't one, it cannot be overturned. If he doesn't call a no-ball and there is a wicket, DRS can correct it. And so, more umpires are erring on the side of not calling no-balls.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 28, 2019
Poor on-field umpiring decisions have become a regular phenomenon in the 2019 Indian Premier League. The standard of the umpiring has been low and this, in turn, is a worrying trend on how the game is moving forward in India. Here we take a look at some of the instances when wrong umpiring decisions in IPL that changed the game at last moment:
9When Lasith Malinga’s no-ball went unnoticed
Mumbai Indians thumped Royal Challengers Bangalore this season (2019) by six runs at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru on March 28. But the drama that the last ball carried with it enraged RCB players and its skipper Virat Kohli. Sri Lankan speed gun Lasith Malinga, who had taken the responsibility of winning it for Mumbai Indians, had a straight cut task ahead of the last ball — deny the batsman a maximum and prevent the match from going into the super over.
And he did exactly that with a terrific low, full-length delivery. The venomous pace of the ball meant that the young all-rounder Shivam Dube could only guide it to Rohit Sharma at long on. However, the giant screen displayed at the Chinnaswamy stadium depicted a replay of the last ball which showed that Malinga had evidently overstepped by quite a few centimeter. However, the umpire S Ravi failed to pick it and RCB were on the beating end.
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) March 28, 2019
8When Curran became the victim of no-ball
This incident came in May 2018. Indian umpire Anantha Padmanabhan called a legal delivery by Tom Curran a no-ball and gave a free-hit in the 16th over in the tie between KKR and MI. Curran’s foot after landing was way behind the line but the umpire wrongly called it a no-ball. Television replays showed the incident and Rinku Singh, who was fielding on the boundary, raised the issue.
KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik and bowler Curran spoke to the umpire but the decision wasn’t overturned since there was no such provision in the rule book.
7Kane Williamson was left baffled
One more incident came in 2018. Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) went down narrowly to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in an IPL 2018 match in April 2018. Sunrisers Hyderabad were chasing the target 183. Kane Williamson was in spectacular form last season. He showed his power in the same game too where he played knock of 81 which consisted of five sixes and equal boundaries. But still, SRH lost the match.
However, things could have been very different for CSK had Shardul Thakur’s waist-high no-ball been called by the on-field umpires in the 17th over. Kane Williamson was having a good time at crease when Thakur delivered a high full-toss in the second ball of the 17th over. However, umpire Vineet Kulkarni, who was standing at square leg, failed to perceive the no-ball. Replays clearly showed that the delivery was well above the waist height.
6Poor leg before wicket decision
In the match that Delhi Daredevils played against Mumbai Indians in 2018, the players of Mumbai Indians were at the receiving end of the result of poor umpiring. This happened in the second ball of 16th over when Hardik delivered a full pitch delivery to Rishabh Pant, which anyhow struck Rishabh Pant’s pads. When Hardik Pandya appealed for the same, the umpire raised his finger in obligation.
However, Rishabh Pant didn’t waste a moment and appealed for DRS. In the review, it was clear that the ball pitched was outside the leg-stump. Thus, the decision was reversed and he added eight more runs before he was finally dismissed by Krunal Pandya.
5When none of the three umpires noticed
We are talking about the incident which took place in IPL 2017. It was an embarrassing error from on-field umpires CK Nandan and Nitin Menon, who allowed Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner to take strike after hitting a boundary off the last delivery of the sixth over against Mumbai Indians. Warner glided Jasprit Bumrah’s last ball of the sixth over to the third man fence and then, surprisingly, went on to take strike off the first ball of the next over from Mitchell McClenaghan.
Neither Menon nor Nandan noticed the batsman’s mistake. In fact, the third umpire, YC Barde, surprisingly did not bring it to their notice as well and Warner faced the first ball of the seventh over.
4CK Nandan and Nitin Menon saga continued
Another such incident came in the same year with coincidently the same pair of on-field. Two Mumbai batsmen were wrongly given out – the more glaring being the leg before decision against captain Rohit Sharma against Kolkata Knight Riders, who was given out despite getting clear inside edge. Sharma appeared to have a heated discussion with umpire Nandan. However, it proved to be a wrong move as the Indian opener earned the wrath of the match referee. Nandan reprimanded him for breaching the IPL’s Code of Conduct.
3Lucky Kevin Pietersen, unlucky Rajasthan
Kevin Pietersen was quite lucky as he was not given run-out not once but on two instances. Courtesy: Poor umpiring. Both the incidents came in 2014. The first instance came against Rajasthan Royals when skipper Pietersen had a close shave when Unmukt Chand (fielder from RR) affected a direct hit at the striker’s end and KP, having his bat stuck in the mud, ended short of the crease with his foot in the air when the ball hit the stumps. KP was short of his crease when the bails were dislodged by a direct hit from Unmukt Chand. But he was given not out!
In fact, this is not the first time the above incident took place. Previously too in Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, KP was given the benefit of doubt by the on-field umpire Sanjay Hazare, when the batsman failed to reach the crease before the bails were dislodged. Coincidentally, the opposition on that occasion was Rajasthan Royals again.
2A rare howler
Have you ever seen an over of seven balls without having a wide or a no-ball? Yes, you read it right this rare howler took place in 2018. A match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium saw a rare howler when, in the 12th over of the game, not six but seven balls were bowled in the vigilance or lack of it, thanks to umpire Nigel Llong!
Ben Laughlin bowled three balls to Kane Williamson and another four to Shikhar Dhawan, which was one of the rarest cricketing blunders at the highest level. TV umpire Nandan too didn’t notice the seventh ball but several online scorecards gave details for seven balls for the 12th over.
1When Dhoni mimicked DRS
Imran Tahir played from Maharashtra based franchise Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017 who reaped the benefit of a poor call from umpire S Ravi when he adjudged Mumbai Indian’s Jos Buttler out LBW despite the ball hitting the bat first. Ravi failed to see the inside edge and sent the Englishman on his way. Later, MI’s Kieron Pollard survived a plumb leg-before decision off the very same bowler.
Both Tahir and wicket-keeper captain of Pune MS Dhoni looked confident in their appeal but the appeal was turned down, Dhoni mockingly mimicked a DRS sign to tell Ravi that his judgment was wrong. The current Chennai Super Kings’ captain was reprimanded for breaching IPL’s code of conduct.
With the howlers that have taken place, umpires need to be reproached by the IPL Governing Council. Further, when a bowler’s foot is behind the crease and it is called a no-ball, the decision needs to be overturned after replays confirm the same. The cricketing council should amend the rule. A strict penalty should be laid for repetitive poor actions.