The speedy CSK had yet to make up the eight-plus minutes they were off the pitch when Dhoni wanted to bring him in – and a long chat with the referees ensued.
How Matheesha Pathirana was allowed to claim her second win – in deathmatch no less – in Chennai Super Kings qualifier against Gujarat Titans when she was off the pitch for more than eight minutes ? Even though Chennai Super Kings won the game by 15 points, this question caused a lot of intrigue.
According to the IPL playing conditions, a player who leaves the pitch to treat an internal injury – or for any other reason – for more than eight minutes must be on the pitch for a similar length of time on his return before being cleared. to play. It was not possible to confirm what problem, if any, Pathirana had when he left the pitch. A query to CSK to verify why Pathirana left the pitch has so far gone unanswered.
He had delivered his first over – the 12th – which lasted ten runs, including four wide. At some point after that, he left the field. Upon his return, he was tasked with launching the 16th. The Titans, in the stage, were 102 for 6, needing 71 more runs for the win.
As MS Dhoni, the captain of CSK, was finalizing the pitch, he noticed that Pathirana was being spoken to by Anil Chaudhary, the referee on the pitch at the striker’s end. Dhoni walked over to square-legged Chris Gaffaney to inquire. TV commentators explained that Pathirana had been out for nine minutes, so the discussion was clearly about whether he was eligible to bowl at the time.
ESPNcricinfo learned that match officials informed Dhoni at the time that Pathirana had to wait a few more minutes before they could play again. Dhoni, it is understood, acknowledged the playing terms but argued he had no choice but to topple Pathirana.
His other three front row bowling options – Ravindra Jadeja, Maheesh Theekshana and Deepak Chahar – had completed their four overs. Only Tushar Deshpande had two more overs apart from Pathirana’s three. Moeen Ali, the only other bowling option, hadn’t bowled at all, and it’s learned that Dhoni told the umpires he couldn’t afford to throw a concave against the two right-handed batters – Vijay Shankar and Rashid Khan – in the middle.
The minutes tick away. Dhoni was reminded that he and CSK risked both the financial penalty for a slow passing and the in-game penalty of having only four defensive players outside the 30-yard circle if the 20th over did not begin with the designated boundary. time. It is understood that the Titans hitters also checked with game officials about the delay.
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Eventually, Pathirana was cleared to play, after four minutes of discussions between Dhoni and the referees, who took charge of the time he was out. He gave up 13 runs in his second over and then went for Vijay Shankar’s wicket in his next over, which lasted four runs and also saw Darshan Nalkande run out.
The delay did not ultimately harm CSK financially, although they suffered the penalty mid-match after starting the 20th after the deadline.
The question remains whether the referees considered penalizing CSK under the foul play law, Law 41.9, which relates to the team’s loss of time in the field. Under this rule, umpires must issue a first and final warning to the pitch captain if they believe there is a deliberate waste of time during an over. A repeat of the same infraction will result in the awarding of five penalty runs to the batting team and the suspension of the bowler. The application of the loss of time rule is however left to the sole discretion of the referees.
There remains the possibility that other teams look into this incident and it could become a trend in the future.
Nagraj Gollapudi is editor-in-chief of ESPNcricinfo