Match referee over-ruled umpires in rain delay

ROB FORSAITH
Last updated 12:39 13/03/2014

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Both sides deemed it a worthwhile exercise, but the rain-hit Twenty20 clash between Australia and South Africa in Durban almost didn't go ahead.

Play was delayed for two and a half hours and the contest was reduced to just seven overs a side - the shortest T20 match ever played by Australia.

Showers battered Kingsmead for most of Wednesday, as they had in the lead-up to the game, and ground staff worked overtime and liberally dumped large clumps of sawdust on the sodden surface.

Proteas coach Russell Domingo suggested captains George Bailey and Faf du Plessis, and umpires Adrian Holdstock and Shaun George had all agreed the contest should not go ahead.

Bailey and du Plessis would have been very concerned about the risk of injury on the slippery turf before this month's T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.

Domingo claimed match referee Chris Broad then stepped in and declared the show must go on.

"It was a little bit odd because both captains agreed to not give it a go because of the outfield, and the umpires decided not to give it a go," Domingo said.

"I think it was overturned by the match referee.

"At the end of the day it turned out to be a great spectacle for the crowd, but there's always a threat of serious injuries when conditions are like that.

"But it's done now, and everyone's ok."

Man of the match Brad Hodge suggested things "weren't ideal" but that it was a good game of cricket that all parties got something out of.

"It was a 50-50 call," Hodge said.

"The problem is, you're leading up to a Twenty20 tournament which is pretty important and both sides would have been worried about injures.

"It was a pretty good game of cricket in the end."

Rain washed out the opening game of the three-match series in Port Elizabeth, and the final game at Centurion at 5am NZ time on Saturday is also in doubt due to weather.

"You've come all the way to South Africa, you want to play cricket. You don't want washouts in all three games," Hodge said.

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- AAP

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