When Hyderabad’s last wicket fell in the second innings against Tamil Nadu, no one expected a sensational end to the first round of the Ranji Trophy matches. For Tamil Nadu to win they had to chase 144 in 11 overs and when the openers Sai Sudharsan and N Jagadeesan conceded 93 runs in six overs a win against all odds seemed a possibility but only for the umpires to call off it game one over later citing bad light with Tamil Nadu stranded at 108 for 1.
As day four began at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, the chances of an outright victory for Tamil Nadu seemed remote. The field remained calm and as Hyderabad slammed into the final session, Tamil Nadu’s hopes faded.
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With the game already entering the mandatory overs phase (teams can settle for a draw if no result can be achieved in the last hour), all eyes were on TN whether they accepted the challenge of chasing down the goal or not . Given their batting wealth, they took up the challenge and in the seven overs they faced hit 13 sixes. Basically, they had switched to T20 mode, to get the job done through bounds and sixes.
Slow down the game
Although Sudharsan was dismissed first pitch from the seventh over for 42 (20b), N Jagadeesan was still going strong. But as Hyderabad knew that bad light would come to their aid, the game slowed down and pushed all their fielders to the boundary rope. Their captain Tanmay Agarwal also wasted a lot of time walking from long range to the bowler for every ball. And even as the ball flew into the stands, Hyderabad outfield players took their time to retrieve the ball, forcing TN to send their players to the stands as cover.
The referee has the last word
While teams usually resort to such time-wasting tactics, referees also tend to make up for lost time. But in this case the officials had no choice but to call off the game because they had to go by what the light meter says.
Why is it so?
There are two factors here. If the light meter had been used in the game for the first time on Day 4, they could have asked the Hyderabad team if they would be interested in continuing with a spinner. However, that didn’t happen here.
Why? The reason for this was that the umpires had already used the light meter on Day 1 and the metric will also be used for the remaining days. For example, if the light meter read 4.1 on Day 1, they must stick to it throughout the game.
Usually umpires take a reading when fast bowlers are active and spinners are active. If conditions are conducive for spinners to operate and the field captain agrees to bowl from either end, umpires shall continue play. If the captain says no, they have no choice but to call off the game.