Scoring 36 runs off six deliveries is not impossible but not a daily occurrence either. Delhi Capitals' West Indian powerhouse Rovman Powell was faced with the simple equation -- hitting six sixes off six deliveries in the final over of Match 34 of IPL 2022 against Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday night.
But when Powell smashed successive sixes off the first two deliveries bowled by left-arm pacer Obed McCoy, a fellow dweller of the Caribbean islands, the equation looked easy and achievable because the bowler looked in a mess, bowling slow and low full-tosses that had 'hit-me hard' written all over. Powell obliged on the third delivery too and hammered the hip-high full toss over midwicket.
But all hell broke loose after that as Delhi Capitals disputed the legality of the delivery, asking the umpire to seek advice from the third umpire whether it was an above-the-waist delivery and thus a no-ball. If they had succeeded, Delhi would have not only got one more run but an extra delivery, thus bringing down the equation to 17 runs off four deliveries and with a free-hit thrown in the mix.
Things looked more in favour of Delhi Capitals, who were chasing 223 for victory and were eight wickets down. With McCoy coming under more pressure, Powell would have fancied his chances hoping for the under-pressure bowler to deliver a few more full-tosses.
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But umpire Nitin Menon stuck to his guns, ruling the delivery legal and refused to bow to their demands for seeking the help of the third umpire.
Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant added fuel to the fire by gesturing his batsmen to walk off the ground before better senses prevailed and the skipper was told the truth by assistant coach Shane Watson in the absence of head coach Ricky Ponting.
Pant instead sent batting coach Pravin Amre into the ground to argue with the umpires. The umpires did not relent after the commotion had settled down and proceeded with the fourth ball of the over. The momentum he had gained on the first three balls was now lost due to the controversy, and Powell failed to hit three sixes off the next deliveries, managing two runs off the fifth ball and was finally out on the final delivery of the match, skying a simple catch for keeper Sanju Samson to pouch gleefully.
The match ended in favour of Rajasthan Royals, who won by 15 runs, but the debate will continue for a long time -- whether it was a no-ball, whether the umpires were right in not consulting the third umpire, or were Delhi Capitals 'cheated' of a victory as the sparse crowd in the stands felt? To some it looked like a clear above-the-waist delivery for others it was not, as the batsman was bending in executing the shot and thus the ball was in line with his thigh and not above it. No one can answer such questions with surety but the debate will continue.
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In the entire cacophony, most people will fail to appreciate the effort put in by young pacer Prasidh Krishna in the preceding over -- the 19th of the innings. The 26-year-old from Bangalore had bowled a brilliant wicket maiden that too in the penultimate over with batters taking untold risks in desperation. Bowling a wide full toss, a short one over the middle stump and a yorker among others, Krishna not only denied the Delhi Capitals batters Lalit Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav any run but also sent back Lalit, thus turning the equation from 36 off 12 to an extremely difficult 35 off 6.
Though many will feel that the no-ball controversy broke Powell's momentum and thwarted him in his attempt for six sixes in an over, it was Prasidh Krishna's wicket-maiden over in the penultimate over that also played a big role in Rajasthan Royals winning the match by 15 runs and jumping to the top spot in the points table.