The IPL governing council is going to revisit the rain rule at its meeting in Hyderabad on Saturday. It comes on the heels of the Eliminator between Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Chinnaswamy Stadium that went on till 1:27 am on Thursday. Kolkata knocked out the defending champions in a truncated six-over run chase to set up a virtual semi-final against the Mumbai Indians to be played here on Friday. Chairman of the IPL Governing Council Rajeev Shukla confirmed on Thursday that the whole issue would be discussed at the meeting, along with the possibility of incorporating a reserve day for knockout matches in the future. (Results | Fixtures | Points Table)
“It’s a matter of concern for us also, what has happened yesterday. We will definitely discuss it at the Governing Council; what could be the way out. We will definitely talk about it,” Shukla told The Indian Express. Asked why there isn’t a reserve day for knockout fixtures, he said: “So far we have got a reserve day for the final and not for other playoff matches. This will also come up for discussion and let’s see what members say.”
Shukla informed that the IPL governing council hasn’t received any communication from the franchises on the rain rule apart from a tweet from the Knight Riders co-owner Shah Rukh Khan that suggested “an extra day” for playoffs. There’s a school of thought within the BCCI that evening matches should start at 7 pm instead of 8.00 to allow an extra hour. “Broadcasters always prefer prime time. Now let’s see what members suggest and after that we will take the opinion of broadcasters also,” Shukla explained.
At the Chinnaswamy Stadium, it first rained at 9:37 pm, at the end of Hyderabad innings. The Eliminator, which began at 8 pm on Wednesday, finally resumed at 12:55 am on Thursday. The prize distribution ceremony took place at 1:45 am. The post-match press conferences went on till well past 2 am.
Little wonder that Kolkata fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile, the man of the match, for his 3 for 20 in four overs, expressed his displeasure after being handed a cheque. “Rules probably need to be looked at. You can’t play cricket at 2 am,” Coulter-Nile said post-match at Chinnaswamy.
Without a reserve day — knockout matches have one-day gap in between — 12.58 am was set as the cut off time for a five-over game in the second innings. In fact, the match officials had the allowance to drag on till 1.20 am for a Super Over. Kolkata started their chase at 12.55 am, having a revised target of 48 in six overs as per the Duckworth–Lewis (D/L) method.
The chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA) Vinod Rai said that those who make the rules need to first discuss before he can comment on the Eliminator ending on the following day.
“It’s too early for me to comment upon it. There are technical people who would be involved in this kind of a thing. Let them deliberate on it first before I pronounce my viewpoint. These are decisions that have been taken on technical grounds and now the situations would be discussed at the technical level first. Let the specialists and experienced people deliberate on it and when it comes before us we will take a view,” Rai told this paper.
They played through the rain for the last few deliveries in the Hyderabad innings. As it turned into a downpour, the likelihood of resumption looked bleak. The world-class drainage system at Chinnaswamy was the reason why the match eventually re-started.
Hyderabad would have gone through in case of a second innings washout, for they finished higher in the table after the group stage. But the umpires deemed the ground playable at 12.35 am.
Chawla justifies inclusion
Before and after the rain, the fans witnessed some fantastic bowling and fielding from Kolkata and an intense six-over innings at the end. Gautam Gambhir’s decision to play Piyush Chawla over Kuldeep Yadav was vindicated. Chawla had featured in only four IPL matches this season in the lead-up to the Eliminator. His last game was against Royal Challengers Bangalore at this venue on May 7. In a do-or-die fixture the Kolkata captain threw him in at the deep end.
Hyderabad went to the first strategic break at 48/1 after nine overs, but David Warner was still at the crease, ready to up the ante. Chawla started his second over with a full delivery followed by a back of a length ball that skidded through. Warner went for a pull but played over it and lost his middle stump. The leg-spinner made the biggest impact, despite conceding 27 runs off three overs, because Hyderabad have had been mostly about their skipper.
Kane Williamson and Warner’s dismissals inside three deliveries had stalled Hyderabad’s progress, but given the bowling attack they had, defending 128 in dry conditions and on a difficult pitch still looked a possibility. After the rain interruption, against the odds, the defending champions fought gamely, reducing Kolkata to 12/3 by the second over. But Gambhir then took control with a 19-ball 32 not out.
Brief scores:Sunrisers Hyderabad 128/7 in 20 overs (David Warner 37 off 35, Kane Williamson 24 off 26, Vijay Shankar 22 off 17, N Coulter-Nile 3-20, U Yadav 2-21) lost to Kolkata Knight Riders 48/3 in 5.2 overs (G Gambhir 32* off 19, I Jaggi 5* off 8, C Jordan 1-9, B Kumar 1-11) by seven wickets. Kolkata were chasing a revised target of 48 in six overs.
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