Virat Kohli was left fuming after replays revealed that the last ball of RCB’s chase against Mumbai Indians was a no-ball, which umpire S Ravi missed. The no-ball became apparent after the big screen at the Chinnaswamy Stadium showed replays of the delivery, off which RCB needed seven runs to win and a six to tie.
Mumbai’s Lasith Malinga was able to deliver close enough to the blockhole so that the batsman, Shivam Dube, could only bunt it down to long-on. But Malinga had overstepped. Had that been spotted, RCB would have got the extra run and extra ball – a Free Hit – and AB de Villiers, who was batting on 70 off 41, could have been on strike.
“We are playing at IPL level, not club cricket,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation. “That’s just a ridiculous call off the last ball. The umpires should have their eyes open, it was a no-ball by an inch. It’s a completely different game altogether [if there was the extra delivery]. So if it’s a game of margins, I don’t know what’s happening. They should have been more sharp and more careful out there.”
Even the winning captain, Rohit Sharma, was unhappy with the gaffe: “These kinds of mistakes are not good for the game of cricket. The over before that, Bumrah bowled a ball which wasn’t a wide ball [which was given wide]. They have to watch what is happening. The players can’t do much about it. Just walk off and shake hands. It is disappointing to see that, but I hope they can rectify their mistakes like we do.”
Rohit spoke sharply of the incident at the post-match press conference as well, saying such mistakes were “not good for the game”. “I seriously don’t know what is the solution. ICC, BCCI… whoever makes these decisions have to take a call on that,” he said. “I say it because eventually it’s not good for the game. Whatever is not good for the game, I’m not going to stand for it. It’s pretty simple, those decisions can cost you games. We prepare too much to win this tournament, to win games, and those kind of mistakes are not acceptable.”
The match in Bengaluru had see-sawed all over the place. RCB needed 61 off the final 30 balls when de Villiers went beserk. He got to fifty in a flurry of boundaries and the equation suddenly read 22 off 12. Then came Bumrah, with his yorkers, bouncers and slower balls. The execution was near perfect – except for that wide that Rohit spoke of, which was called by umpire Nandan and was met with disbelief from both the bowler and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
Malinga had 17 to defend off the last over and though he conceded six off the first ball, he was able to pull things back well enough to win the game for Mumbai. And even as he was celebrating with his team-mates, the replay went up on the big screen, prompting fury from the RCB camp. Their bowling coach Ashish Nehra stormed out to the middle and was involved in an animated chat with the fourth umpire.
By then, as per the Laws of the game, it was too late for the umpire to change his decision. Law 2.12 of the MCC’s Laws of the game says: “An umpire may alter any decision provided that such alteration is made promptly. This apart, an umpire’s decision, once made, is final.”
The host broadcaster’s commentators, in their post-match analysis, strongly advocated the introduction of technology to deal with such issues. Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen called the incident unbelievable. “It should’ve been a no-ball and it should’ve been a Free Hit. We can fly drones. We have got Spidercams. We have all sorts of technology, cars that drive themselves. How can you not have technology in a cricketing arena where millions are in play in terms of fans and the entertainment that the package brings. How can you not have technology in place to call it?
“Maybe the umpire should have called it, but maybe you take it [the call] away from the umpire. You just think to yourself… well, the emotion, the human emotion involved in such a crucial play in the game can affect the human. We are all humans. Should there be a technology in place that just calls a no-ball?”
Former Australia batsman Matthew Hayden said it was a “bigger mistake” than any in the match. Hayden agreed with Pietersen that it was time for administrators to think of introducing technology in this respect, to detect line calls like in tennis.