Kings XI Punjab captain Ravichandran Ashwin defended his decision to ‘Mankad’ Rajasthan Royals’ Jos Buttler during Monday’s IPL match between the two sides. “No real argument on that and it was pretty instinctive. I didn’t even load and he just left the crease. We ended on the right side of the coin, but I definitely think that those are game-changing moments and batsmen need to be wary of it,” Ashwin said after Kings XI beat Rajasthan by 14 runs.
Needing to chase down a target of 185, the Royals were cruising with Buttler on 69 off 43 balls. The Englishman had shared a 78-run opening stand with captain Ajinkya Rahane. Ashwin broke the stand by dismissing the latter but Buttler was unfazed and it looked like his innings would result in Rajasthan easily going over the line.
On the second last ball of the 13th over, Ashwin clipped the bails off the non-striker’s end before bowling his delivery. Replays showed that Buttler was clearly outside the crease when the bails were taken off. The pair had an animated argument on the pitch and Buttler was visibly angry when he walked off after the big screen in the Sawai Man Singh stadium showed that he was out.
There was a 40-run stand between Steve Smith, who was playing his first IPL match since 2017, and Sanju Samson. But Rajasthan went on to lose seven wickets in the last four overs and ended the match on the losing side.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) 25 March 2019
“It was very instinctive. It was not planned. It is there within the rules of the game. I don’t know where the understanding of the spirit of the game comes because, if it is there in the rules it is there,” said Ashwin later in the post-match press conference.
Rajasthan Royals’ coach Paddy Upton differed in his assessment of the dismissal. In the press conference he said, “I think R Ashwin’s actions tonight speak for him and represent him. When I looked in the eyes of his teammates, I’m not sure it represented his teammates. We’ll leave it up to the IPL fans to decide if that’s the kind of thing they want to see, and we’ll leave it up to the cricket world to judge R Ashwin’s actions tonight. But for us, we certainly are here just to play cricket and entertain the fans and just be good role models for people who love the game.”
In the commentary box, former Australian player Matthew Hayden pointed out that it is doubtful if Buttler intended to take a run there and that Ashwin may have stopped in his delivery stride to dismiss the batsman. It was a view shared by a number of people on social media.
What the !!! I doubt if this can be given out even by the rule book 🤔
The way I see it he was not stepping out too much!!! Batsman looks “in” when the bowler was in his release stride! Hayden said it right & the game changed there !!! Not fair even by school standards ! #Mankad pic.twitter.com/Aq2VMwVyz1
— T R B Rajaa (@TRBRajaa) 25 March 2019
Ashwin refused to acknowledge that moment as a turning point in the match, instead choosing to go with Sam Curran’s 17th over in which both Smith and Samson fell. “Sam (Curran) had a bad day with the ball, but he came back well. Everybody ticked their boxes. We do have a few options amongst us, but if we can have good five overs, there is nothing like it,” he said.