Chennai Super Kings needed 18 runs to win off the final over in their chase of 152 against Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur. MS Dhoni was batting brilliantly on 58 and Ben Stokes was bowling the final over. Chennai Super Kings started off well with Ravindra Jadeja blasting a six straight down the ground but Stokes got the big wicket of Dhoni with a yorker which sent the skipper back. On the fourth ball of the innings, controversy erupted. Stokes bowled a slow, full toss which seemed over the waist and Mitchell Santner whacked it to wide long on for a couple.
Initially, umpire Ulhas Gandhe raised the arm to signal a no-ball for height and the buzzers at the ground went off. However, the square leg umpire Bruce Oxenford over-ruled it. This infuriated Dhoni who charged onto the playing field and protested the decision. Dhoni pointed out that umpire Gandhe had raised the arm and it should be a no-ball but umpire Oxenford stated that he did not signal a no-ball. A heated argument ensued and few of the Rajasthan Royals players got involved.
Play was held up for some time but Chennai Super Kings managed to get over the line when Santner clubbed a six off the last ball as they won the game by four wickets off the last ball. Following the incident, Dhoni was fined 50 percent of his match fee for the outburst. In a statement released by the IPL, it said, “Dhoni was fined 50 percent of his match fees for breaching the VIVO Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Code of Conduct during his team’s match against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur. Dhoni admitted to the Level 2 offence 2.20 of the IPL’s Code of Conduct and accepted the sanction.”
Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming said in the post-match presentation that Dhoni wanted some clarity. “Our understanding was that the umpire at the bowler's end had called the no-ball and then there was confusion around whether it was a no ball or not. MS was after some clarity and it didn't seem to be coming. So, he took the opportunity to go out in there and discuss it with the umpires,” Fleming said.
Umpiring howlers dominate IPL
This is not the first time that umpiring controversies dominated the IPL 2019. In the match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy stadium, the umpire failed to spot a no-ball from Lasith Malinga in the last ball of the 20th over as Mumbai Indians won by a close margin against Virat Kohli’s side. The replays were shown on the big screen and it showed Malinga had overstepped and this prompted Kohli to lash out at the umpires.
During the Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab game, the match was overshadowed by the mankading incident while in the game against Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians at Mohali, the umpires had allowed Ashwin to bowl seven balls in one over. This latest controversy will only serve to increase the spotlight on the umpires as the tournament progresses.