In the first major controversy of IPL 2022, Delhi Capitals (DC) captain Rishabh Pant threatened to call his players back from the field in the middle of Friday’s game against the Rajasthan Royals (RR) to protest a peculiar decision by the on-field umpires.
The incident happened in the final over of DC’s high-scoring clash against RR at the Wankhade Stadium. Delhi required a near-impossible 36 runs in the final over to win, but Rovman Powell ignited hopes of something unprecedented by hitting the first three balls for sixes.
The third ball was a waist-high full-toss from pacer Obed McCoy. Although Powell got maximum runs off it, the Delhi camp suspected a no-ball. However, for some reason the third umpire didn’t find it worth a re-check. DC assistant coach Shane Watson started the appeal from the dugout, and Rishabh Pant and others joined soon after.
They were in the ear of the fourth umpire near the boundary rope even as Powell talked to the on-field umpires, who wanted the game to continue. Frustrated, Pant started asking Powell and the non-striker Kuldeep Yadav to step off the field. He did that for a few minutes and then even sent assistant coach Pravin Amre to the field to talk to the umpires. You can watch the drama here:
Pant calling back his players was reminiscent of MS Dhoni accosting the umpires for a similar decision in 2019. The situation threatened to get even worse when Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler, known for not holding back in such situations, also had a word with Pant near the boundary line.
In the absence of head coach Ricky Ponting, Watson tried to calm things down in the DC camp as Amre had a chat with the umpires. Soon, the ball was checked by the TV umpire and the prima facie looked extremely close. But it wasn’t given and Powell missed the next ball, took two runs on the penultimate delivery and got out on the final ball.
Had the umpires adjudged it a no-ball, Delhi would have required 17 runs to win from four balls – a gettable task. But they ended up losing the match by 15 runs.
Rishabh Pant regrets sending Pravin Amre to pitch
After the match, the Delhi skipper, who had contributed 44 (24) in the chase, stuck to his stance that the decision was an umpriing error. However, he also admitted that sending Amre to the field “wasn’t right” and happened in the heat of the moment. He explained:
“I thought that no-ball could have been precious for us but it is not in my control. Yes, disappointed but can’t do much about it. Everyone was frustrated (in the dugout) that it was not even close, everyone in the ground saw that, I think the third umpire should have interfered and said it was a no-ball. Obviously it wasn’t right (sending Amre onto the field) but what happened with us is also not right, it happened in the heat of the moment. It was the fault from both sides and it is disappointing as we have seen some good umpiring in the tournament. “
Tempers rose and fell quickly as players from both teams, including Pant, were seen having some light-hearted chats after the match.