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Cricket World Cup officials admit they didn't know the rules

Cricket World Cup officials admit they didn't know the rules

World Cup cricket officials admitted a series of blunders that saw the final of the prestigious tournament end in farcical scenes.
"It's human error. I'm very embarrassed ... it's a bit of a crisis scenario," match referee Jeff Crowe said after Australia beat Sri Lanka by 53 runs at Kensington Oval.
Officials mistakenly told players that the match, almost complete, might have to be completed on Sunday with only three overs to be bowled as teams played in gathering gloom.
In fact, because Sri Lanka had batted for 20 overs, the match would be complete whenever it was ended.
The team captains, Australia's Ricky Ponting and Sri Lanka Mahela Jayawardene, knew the rules. But faced with umpires' orders to return to the Kensington Oval again on Sunday, they decided to finish the game with three overs of friendly cricket, Australian bowlers bowling slowly and Sri Lankan batsmen playing out for time.
"Our understanding was that once you've completed 20 overs, the game was finished," Jayawardene said. "My batsmen came back after I had a word with Ricky telling him what my call was and both of us wanted it finished today.
"Ricky said he'd bowl the three overs with spinners. The understanding was that they'd bowl spinners and our batsmen will go out and play those three overs to end the match today."
Ponting told reporters he thought umpire Aleem Dar was joking when he interrupted Australia's celebrations to tell them they would have to finish the match on Sunday.
"It appeared that we had a premature celebration for the best part of 10 minutes. It was quite a nice gesture of the Sri Lankans to play the overs out and not to make us come back tomorrow," said the victorious captain. "It's a little disappointing way to finish a World Cup."
Playing in virtual darkness with nocturnal bats flying around the Kensington Oval, Australian players celebrated victory when it appeared that Sri Lanka's batsmen _ or the umpires _ decided it was too dark to play on.
Such a decision would have given Australia the match and its third consecutive World Cup title.
The players jumped for joy and hugged each other. Workers began setting up podiums for victory celebrations and advertising mats on the ground were lifted. Glenn McGrath, playing in his final match, uprooted a stump as a souvenir.
But the umpires had different views.
Third umpire Rudi Koertzen was in the stands examining the complex decisions about overs to be bowled and made the suggestion that play might have to be continued on Sunday.
"When the 20 overs was passed we got our minds clouded over that whole simple issue. Some voices were saying that finishing it tomorrow was the way it should be done," said Crowe.
"The real confusion occurred when it was suggested that the remaining overs would be finished tomorrow. This was never a consideration and it was a mistake on our behalf. We will certainly learn from the confusion and the mistakes that were made.
Crowe admitted that the 15-minute delay while these issues were discussed should also have led to a reduction in the overs to be bowled, from three to one. So two of the three overs that Australia bowled to finish the game off were completely unnecessary.
Crowe said he did not believe he should resign because of the issue, which brought cricket's showpiece event to an undignified and chaotic end.
The problems started when Barbados decided to produce some decidedly untropical weather on World Cup final day.
As the start time loomed, the rain began to fall and the start of play was delayed for two and three-quarter hours.
The 50-over match was reduced to 38 hours per side, far too many overs, as it transpired, to squeeze in before darkness fell.
Australia scored 281 and Sri Lanka gradually fell behind in the chase. In the meantime, it became darker and darker in cloudy Bridgetown and eventually, apparently at the request of Sri Lanka's batsmen, play stopped and Australia began to celebrate.
Floodlights that had been switched on for post-match celebrations were switched off, just to ensure that players could see absolutely nothing.
It was a farcical end to a World Cup marred by tragedy and organization disarray.
Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer died in his Jamaica hotel room Marcy 18 hours after his team was eliminated. His death is still being investigated as a murder inquiry after an autopsy suggested he had been strangled but police have not yet named any suspects.


Updated : 2021-05-17 18:24 GMT+08:00