Sparks fly over electrical storm play at T20
Stuart Broad has had a right old whinge.
Having seen his team lose to New Zealand by nine runs, on the Duckworth-Lewis Method this morning, the England captain basically accused umpires Aleem Dar and Paul Reiffel of a stitch up.
The World Twenty20 tournament Group 1 match in Chittagong was abandoned 5.2 overs into New Zealand's pursuit of 173 to win, when lightning thunder and heavy rain forced the players from the Zaha Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
The electrical storm had begun in the previous over, first coming to people's attention when New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum suddenly backed away as Broad was about to bowl. Most of the players seemed unnerved by the genuine forked lightning, but the umpires kept the game going until the rain came.
By then McCullum and Kane Williamson had got New Zealand past the Duckworth-Lewis target score for 5.2 overs with one wicket down of 43 for one. With five overs of the innings having been completed, that also qualified as a legitimate match.
But Broad felt the players ought to have been taken from the ground sooner and that the umpires had intentionally allowed the Black Caps' innings to go the necessary five overs to "tick a box.''
"To be as polite as I possibly can be, I think it was distinctly average decision making, keping us out there after the first lightning strike,'' Broad said.
"It's no sour grapes because I think both sides were uncomfortable about being out there with such heavy lightning around. I asked the umpires for a bit of clarity on he decision making at the ed of the game and they didn't see the lightning and didn't think it was a threat.
"I can guarantee, from our team, we felt it was a threat and with a batsman pulling away from a delivery...I think the batsman saw it that way as well.''
Broad added that he was so concerned that the players' safety was in jeopardy that he was going to walk his side off.
"When the umpires got together and kept saying it was fine, Baz [McCullum] and I had a discussion about taking our players off the field because we didn't agree [with the umpires],'' said Broad.
After being kept out there, McCullum hit the last ball of the fifth over, bowled by Broad, for a six which put New Zealand past the required Duckworth-Lewis mark. Williamson then took five off the first two balls of the next over to give the Black Caps what eventually became a nine-run win.
Afterwards New Zealand opening bowler Kyle Mills said he hadn't felt in great peril.
"I was cowering back in the dressing room, so I was more than comfortable to be fair.''
Mills said McCCullum had summed the situation up perfectly, during his six-ball knock of 16 not out, and that the win was a deserved result for his team. He definitely didn't buy Broad's argument about the umpires being the ones who determined the result by keeping everyone out there.
"That's probably a bit of hindsight. If Stuart was on the other end of it he'd be more than happy with the decision. In cricket you win some, you lose some,'' said Mills.
Victory was certainly a boost for New Zealand's campaign. Life's more difficult for England, who now need to win their three remaining group games to stay in semifinal contention.
South Africa, who meet New Zealand tomorrow night, are in the same boat after losing to Sri Lanka by five runs in the first game of the double-header at Chittagong.