World of cricket: Of rusty comebacks, fake fielding and DLS confusions

The Indian women’s limited-overs series loss against South Africa at home is a wake up call for the BCCI to design more tournaments for the girls. Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo upset with target revision in the middle of innings against New Zealand.

Coach W. V. Raman talks to the Indian women's cricket team in Lucknow.   -  Special Arrangement

March was a crucial month for Indian cricket. The women’s cricket team returned to action after a year’s gap while the men were about to complete a treble of series wins, across formats, against England.

The two stories are contrasting.

The Indian women’s 4-1 loss in the ODIs, followed by a 2-1 loss in the T20Is against South Africa at home is a wake up call for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which couldn’t fit in enough tournaments for the girls after the T20 World Cup in 2020.

The mini T20 challenge held in November is not even a spoonful for a taste of the Indian Premier League, leave alone oiling rusty engines to prepare them for an international series four months in advance.

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The bowlers called the shots in the two games that India won. Left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad — 3/37 in the second ODI and 3/9 in the third T20I — contributed to both the victories. Fast bowler Jhulan Goswami’s 4/42 in the ODI win is a masterclass in itself.

The girls will be chasing their World Cup dream in early 2022 but the squad looks far from settled with important selection calls expected. Among the ones in the sidelines, flamboyant batter Shafali Varma should be guaranteed a spot in the ODIs.

At present, the girls need to toughen their minds. A few more bio-bubble experiences with no distraction and only cricket is a good cure.

Fake fielding episode

Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman was fighting a lone battle in Johannesburg in the second ODI against South Africa. Chasing a target of 342, he smashed 10 sixes and 18 fours to get to 193 off 155 balls.

The final over reopened the spirit of cricket debate when wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock deceived the batsman to execute a run out operation.

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Zaman hit the ball towards long-off, ran the first and slowed down while completing the second as de Kock indicated that the throw from Aiden Markram was going to the bowler’s end. It was a direct hit at Zaman’s end who had taken his eyes off the ball.

Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman was fighting a lone battle in Johannesburg in the second ODI against South Africa. Chasing a target of 342, he smashed 10 sixes and 18 fours to get to 193 off 155 balls.   -  AP

 

According to Law 41.5.1, “it is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt, by word or action, to distract, deceive or obstruct either batsman after the striker has received the ball.”

“The Law is clear, with the offence being an ATTEMPT to deceive, rather than the batsman actually being deceived. It’s up to the umpires to decide if there was such an attempt. If so, then it’s Not out, 5 Penalty runs + the 2 they ran, and batsmen choose who faces next ball,” the MCC highlighted the rule.

Zaman avenged the embarrassment by scoring another century in the third ODI — 101 off 104 balls — to help Pakistan clinch the series and earn ICC CWC Super League points. South Africa missed de Kock, who had to fly to India to join Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

What’s the target?

In one of the most bizarre instances in international cricket, play was halted for almost five minutes during the rain-truncated second T20I between New Zealand and Bangladesh in Napier because the chasing team was not informed about the revised target under the DLS calculations.

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The Kiwis finished their innings at 173 for the loss of five wickets in 17.5 overs when it started pouring. Bangladesh’s DLS target read 148 off 16 overs when it came out to bat but the action stopped after 1.3 overs. After some serious number-crunching, the umpires and the match referees conveyed the final target — 170 off 16 overs.

Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo cut a frustrated figure and criticised the conduct of the match officials at the post match press conference.   -  Sandeep Saxena

 

Not ferocious enough to attack the Kiwis, the Tigers lost the plot after sparks from Soumya Sarkar (51 off 27) and Mahmudullah (27 off 12). They stopped at 142/7 and the confidence had taken a severe beating after losing the series under strange circumstances.

Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo cut a frustrated figure and criticised the conduct of the match officials at the post match press conference. “I don’t think I have been involved in a game before where batters go out and don’t know what the target is.

“I don’t think the game should have started until it was finalised, before there was a clear indication of what is required, and what we needed at certain stages. I don’t quite think the conduct was good enough this evening.

“(When we met the match referee) they were still waiting for calculations. If you are waiting, the game can’t start. What was explained was they normally get it one or two balls in... No excuses, but this is just very frustrating,” he said.

Talking about mindset, Bangladesh couldn’t recover from the second T20I and in the third, it threw the game away by folding for only 76.