The India-Pakistan match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday saw a thrilling finish with India sealing the win by four wickets.
Virat Kohli starred in India’s run chase of 160 runs with an unbeaten 82 off 53 deliveries. He was adjudged the player of the match.
The match had its share of controversies too. In the 20th over, Virat Kohli smashed a full toss for a six over mid wicket. The umpires, to the displeasure of the Pakistan players, signalled a no ball and India needed just 6 runs off 3 deliveries.
Despite Babar Azam’s appeals, the umpires stood by their decision.
More drama ensued on the following delivery. Virat Kohli was bowled off the free hit but the Indian batters collected three runs as the ball ricocheted off the stumps to the third man boundary. Pakistan appealed for a dead ball to be declared, but the three runs stood.
India was able to see the game out as Ashwin lofted the last ball off the over past mid off for four runs.
Former Australia cricketer Brad Hogg criticised the decision by the umpires. “Why was no ball not reviewed, then how can it not be a dead ball when Kohli was bowled on a free hit?,” he tweeted.
Rohit Sharma’s reprieve in 2015
This is not the first time a no ball call has caused controversy during a World Cup match at the MCG. India benefitted from a similar decision during the 2015 World Cup quarterfinal against Bangladesh.
Rohit Sharma, batting on 90 runs, parked a full toss straight into the hands of the deep square leg fielder. It was a border line call which went India’s way. Rohit went on to make a hundred and India won the match by 109 runs.
There was much hue and cry over the decision by Bangladesh cricketers and officials. Mustafa Kamal, the ICC President, criticised the umpiring in the tournament.
ICC later had to issue a statement to clarify that Kamal’s comments were made in a personal capacity. The statement by Chief Dave Richardson said, “The no-ball decision was a 50-50 call. The spirit of the game dictates that the umpire’s decision is final and must be respected.”
Mustafa ultimately tendered his resignation in 2015 over the issue. “If needed, I will resign from the ICC. Speaking as fan, it appears to me that it (ICC) has become Indian Cricket Council. There needs to be an investigation. A result was forced on us today,” he told a private TV channel.
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