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5 Instances where crowd impacted the match result in International Cricket

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Vinod Kambli. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The COVID-19 outbreak has put a break to International Cricket and has created a possibility of the sport playing behind closed doors. Many players have raised voices about how the spectators make an impact on their spirit levels while playing and their absence could create a new challenge.

At the same time, there are few occasions where the crowd’s outrage caused trouble to the play in whatever way. There are also instances where the crowd went as far as getting the match result fabricated to cover up the disturbances.

Here we look at some of the significant International games where the result was affected by crowd involvement:

5. India vs Sri Lanka in 1996, Kolkata ODI:

The Kolkata’s Eden Gardens hosted the semi-final of the 1996 World Cup between India and Sri Lanka. The home team India elected to bowl first and picked up wickets of both openers in the very first over. Javagal Srinath dismissed Sri Lanka’s top three who collectively scored two runs. Aravinda de Silva smashed 14 fours during his 47-ball 66 while Roshan Mahanama scored 58 before getting retired hurt. Their fifties helped the Lankans to finish with a solid total of 251/8 in their 50 overs.

Sachin Tendulkar continued his batting form with a crucial fifty in the big chase. He scored 65 from 88 balls with 9 boundaries during his 96-minute stay at the crease. India were 98/1 in 22.3 overs before Sachin was dismissed stumped in the bowling of Sanath Jayasuriya. In the space of 70 balls, India lost seven wickets and managed to score only 22 runs. They were reduced to 120/8 in 34.1 overs with Vinod Kambli batting on 10* off 29 while Anil Kumble just arrived at the crease.

The crowd began their violent acts when India needed 132 in 15.5 overs. Match referee Sir Clive Lloyd stepped into the field to take a call as the crowd set fire in the stands and threw objects on the ground. No more play was possible as Lloyd called off the match and the game was awarded to Sri Lanka by default. The interruption caused by the crowd thus affected the result and ruled out the possibility of a miracle from Indians. The Lankan team later clinched their maiden World Cup title by defeating Australia in the final.

4. England vs Pakistan in 2001, Leeds ODI:

England hosted NatWest Tri-series in 2001 which involved Australia and Pakistan as the other two sides. England took on Pakistan at Headingley, Leeds in the 7th match of the tournament. The game scheduled to be played a day before the Leeds ODI between Pakistan and Australia was abandoned and confirmed the place in final for both teams. England was yet to win a game by then as they lost all four matches played. England lost the wicket of Marcus Trescothick on the very first ball of the match after losing the toss.

The Pakistan skipper Waqar Younis kept taking wickets with the new ball and decided to bowl out his 10 overs in a single spell. As a result, the home side was seven wickets down for 58 runs by 19th over. All those seven wickets were claimed by Waqar who ended up with bowling figures of 10-0-36-7. Ben Hollioake and Daren Gough scored 53 and 40* respectively to take England to 156. The duo shared a partnership of 67 runs for the 8th wicket in 18.4 overs.

Pakistan didn’t struggle much in the short chase as Abdul Razzaq scored 75 while batting at No.3 position. Pakistan reached 149/4 in 39.4 overs and further needed 8 runs in 61 balls. Azhar Mahmood flicked the 5th ball of the over towards deep square-leg boundary. While everyone was in confusion where it was a four or a six, a large section of the crowd invaded the pitch as the players and umpires tried to find safe places.

The invasion resulted in one of the ground steward getting injured and was admitted in the hospital. He suffered broken ribs and a damaged spleen as he was reportedly kicked in his stomach and head by the aggressive mob. The England skipper Alec Stewart decided to concede the match when Pakistan was only four runs away from a win. The whole tournament witnessed the crowd disturbances which includes Michael Bevan getting hit by a full beer can during the final presentation at the Lord’s balcony.

3. India vs West Indies in 2002, Rajkot ODI:

West Indies won the first two games of the 7-match ODI series on their tour of India in 2002. Rajkot hosted the 3rd ODI where the West Indians plundered 300/5 in their 50 overs as Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan scored 72, 74 and 84 runs respectively. Ajit Agarkar faced the wrath on a batting paradise as he conceded 63 runs in only six overs. India got off to a flyer in the chase as their openers Virender Sehwag and Captain Sourav Ganguly put on a huge partnership.

By the time of drinks break at the end of the 15th over, India cruised to 120 without losing a wicket. Sehwag, who reached his fifty in 38 balls, needed only 36 more balls to complete his century. The opening partnership was valued 196 runs from 160 balls as the required run-rate came down to 4.5. Sehwag brought up the 200-run mark with a boundary on the first ball of the 28th over. As India stood 101 runs away from a comfortable win, the crowd began to rain the outfield with bottles.

The agenda of the crowd’s outbreak was not known with India being in driver’s seat. The crowd made it impossible for the play to resume and match referee Mike Proctor considered the D/L method. India were 81 runs ahead of the par score of 119/1 after 27.1 overs and were declared winners. Few days after the game, the visiting side complained to the ICC about the usage of the D/L system in determining the winner in crowd alteration.

They felt that the incident could influence the crowd to repeat the same mistake in the future. In fact, the Rajkot ODI was the 3rd consecutive match of the series which was troubled due to the crowd. During the first ODI hosted by Jamshedpur, the crowd caused interruptions on multiple occasions. The crowd set fire in the stands when West Indies needed 13 runs from 3 overs. It was announced that West Indies won through D/L method but play resumed once things got better at the venue.

The game dramatically went down to the final ball where three runs were needed. Sarwan smashed Agarkar through the covers to seal a win for the visitors. The 2nd ODI in Nagpur was reduced to 48 overs-a-side due to the delay caused by the wet outfield. Around 16th over of Indian innings, the disturbances caused by the crowd cut down one over from each team’s inning. West Indies won it by chasing down the target of 280 with four balls to spare.

2. West Indies vs Australia in 1978, Kingston Test:

Australia’s tour of West Indies in 1978 was marred by World Series Cricket controversy. The Aussies did leave out all players who signed for the Kerry Packer’s WSC. The touring party was led by Bob Simpson for the two ODIs and a 5-match Test series. West Indies Cricket Board allowed the players who were part of the WSC for the first two Tests which the home team won. Ahead of the 3rd Test, all the three players with WSC contracts were ousted and the WI skipper Clive Lloyd resigned in support of his players.

Australia won the 3rd Test match but the home side, under Alvin Kallicharran, bounced back to take a series-winning lead of 3-1 before going into the final Test in Kingston. Peter Toohey’s 122 aided Australia to finish with 343 in their first innings while the home side was bowled out for only 280 despite Larry Gomes’ 115. Toohey’s 97 in the 2nd essay backed by Graeme Wood’s 90 helped the Aussies to declare their innings at 305/3. West Indies batted 6 overs on the 4th day in the big chase of 369 runs.

The Australians were determined to end the tour with a big win as they reduced the home team to 88/5. But the skipper Kallicharran wasn’t going to allow the Aussies to get away with a win easily as he put on 91 for the 6th wicket in 100 minutes with Saw Shivnarine. Kallicharran eventually fell at the score of 242/8 as he amassed 126 during his 4-hour battle. Vanburn Holder was caught behind a couple of overs later in the bowling of Jim Higgs. Australia had about half an hour to get the last wicket and seal a win.

Vanburn Holder, on his way to the pavilion, showed dissent on himself for not staying long at the crease during the crucial juncture of the game. The crowd spotted Holder’s antics and assumed that he was wrongly given out. Soon, they picked up stones, bottles or whatever they got hold of and threw it on to the ground. Some of them in the crowd even tried to invade the pitch. The policemen had to step in to calm down the things and take the players safely back to their hotel rooms.

No play was possible after Holder’s wicket and Australia didn’t get a chance to pick up the final wicket. The Australian captain Simpson demanded play to resume on the following day, which would be the 6th day of the game. The WICB and majority of the players accepted for a resumption of 6th day. Umpire Wesley Malcolm was in favour of this move but the other umpire Ralph Gosein and the reserve umpire John Gayle ruled out that possibility and declare the game as a draw.

Australia vs West Indies, Kingston, 1978
Australia vs West Indies, Kingston, 1978. (Photo Source: Twitter & YouTube)

1. West Indies vs Australia in 1999, Georgetown ODI:

Australia toured West Indies in 1999 where they drew a closely fought Test series as it ended with a scoreline of 2-2. It was followed by a 7-match ODI series which was also played in the same spirit as it was tied at 2-2 ahead of the 5th ODI in Georgetown. The match was reduced to 30 overs-a-side as the rain-delayed the start by more than three hours. An opening stand of 83 in 14.3 overs laid the foundation for the West Indies team to finish with 173/5 in the restricted 30 overs.

The Australians struggled in the chase despite a quick-fire 44 from Adam Gilchrist at the top as they lost wickets at regular intervals. They were seven wickets down by 23rd over with only 119 runs on the board. But skipper Steve Waugh continued his fight along with Shane Warne as the duo added 49 runs in the next six overs to bring down the equation to 6 runs from last 6 balls. As many as 27 runs came across the 28th and 29th overs where Waugh and Warne smashed a six each.

Before Keith Arthurton walked to bowl the final over, the crowd invaded the pitch and the stumps were stolen. The police had to intervene to ensure the play resumed by clearing out the troublesome crowd. Waugh picked up a risky couple on the first ball of the over but failed to get even a run on the following four balls against the left-arm spinner. With four runs needed from the last ball, Arthurton decided to bowl with the wicketkeeper standing back.

Steve Waugh pulled the last ball away towards the cow-corner which was fielded by the long-on fielder. Waugh completed running a two and was a couple of steps towards the other end when Arthurton removed the bails at non-striker’s end even though Shane Warne was firmly planted inside the crease. The bowler then ran away in hope of making himself safe from the crowd the invaded the pitch. Waugh reached the other and completed the 3rd run as the stumps were stolen while Arthurton returned to affect the runout.

This caused confusion over the actual result of the game which was cleared by the match referee Raman Subba Row almost an hour after the game ended officially. It was announced that the game ended in a Tie as they considered the 3rd run which came in the confusion created by the crowd invasion. The ball was not yet dead when Arthurton walked away as Waugh was charging in for a third run by that time. It was the only known instance where the crowd’s intervention completely manipulated the result of the match.

Source: CricTracker