Like most fans watching Royal Challengers Bangalore's (RCB) chase against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2022, Virat Kohli seemed upset with the third umpire. After being given out to what could be considered an unjust LBW decision, the former skipper swung his bat in anger, on his way back.
A clear inside-edge appeared on the ultra-edge before the ball hit the pads. The commentators sided with him as they witnessed the absurd decision. However, this isn't the first time a player has had to succumb to an unfortunate decision in the IPL.
Despite being the most prestigious T20 league in the world, inefficient umpiring has tarnished its reputation. From Captain Cool MS Dhoni losing his cool in a 2019 IPL match to Kohli's outburst, there have been several such instances of shocking decisions.
Let's look at three of the most stunning mistakes from the umpires in the IPL over the years.
CSK vs RR 2019: No ball decision reversed
In a nail-biting match, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) required 8 runs in the last 3 balls of the final over, bowled by Ben Stokes. The anxiety levels were high in the dugouts and on the field.
To stir things up even further, the on-field umpire, Ulhase Gandhe, signalled a no-ball after Ravindra Jadeja scored two runs. However, there was huge confusion as the decision was reversed, taking away the extra run and the free-hit.
As Jadeja gestured angrily to the umpires, CSK skipper MS Dhoni stormed onto the field, resulting in a heated confrontation. The poor judgment by the umpire raised a lot of questions as well as a ton of backlash against Dhoni for his actions.
RCB vs PBKS 2021: "Sack the umpire immediately, what a joke!"
In the second phase of IPL 2021 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, many were left perplexed and infuriated by a decision from the third umpire decision. An appeal for caught behind went to the third umpire.
Despite the concrete evidence, TV official Krishnamachari Srinivasan signaled that Devdutt Paddikal was not out. Prior to this decision, Punjab Kings (PBKS) captain KL Rahul and leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi had decided to ask for a review of the on-field umpire's decision.
The following verdict made by the third umpire left everyone in shock. Experts like Scott Styris and Krishnamachari Srikkanth labelled the error as 'unforgivable'. Styris further went on to say that Srinivasan deserved to be sacked.
RCB vs MI 2019: "We're not playing gully cricket"
Once again, Virat Kohli's team was on the receiving end of improper umpiring. In a very tight chase against the Mumbai Indians, RCB were required to pursue an imposing total of 188.
Vice-captain AB de Villiers' 70*(41) went in vain as they fell short by just six runs. However, the outcome of the game could've been different if a major error had been spotted.
After the final ball of the match was done and dusted, the cameras showed that Lasith Malinga had bowled a no-ball. Undoubtedly, Kohli was furious with the lack of judgment by the umpire. In the post-match presentation, Kohli said the following:
"We are playing at the IPL level and not playing club cricket. The umpires should have had their eyes open. That is a ridiculous call (last ball). If it is a game of margins, I don’t know what is happening. They should have been more sharp and careful out there."
Fans firmly believed that if the no-ball had been called, a win was possible for RCB, considering Shivam Dube's good form at the time. The rage led to the decision by the authorities to have the no-balls be called by the third umpire from the next season.
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What will it take to prevent poor umpiring in IPL?
Regardless of having the two DRS referrals per match, many players face injustice when their fate falls into the third umpire's hands. Such inefficiencies can determine and alter a IPL team's journey in the tournament.
Cricket is indeed a cruel sport. However, a well-reputed league like the IPL doesn't deserve controversies over a crystal-clear issue. Whether the authorities reconsider whom to hire as umpires or have a more efficient system, such mistakes are unacceptable.
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