BBL blushes after controversial Stars win
Big Bash League officials were forced to clarify the match result from Wednesday night's second round clash at the WACA after confusion clouded the Melbourne Stars 24-run win* under the Duckworth/Lewis method over the Perth Scorchers.
"The KFC T20 Big Bash League has received a lot of enquiries and there's been much interest in how the outcome of last night's match between the Scorchers and Stars was reached and we'd like to address any confusion," BBL's Mike McKenna said. "We have spent today briefing many stakeholders about the result and the rules surrounding rain-affected matches."
One of those stakeholders was Scorchers coach Justin Langer, who had earlier flagged a discussion with BBL officials. "The result was probably fair because we played so poorly. But at the end of the day the process was unusual," Langer said. "We will be taking it up with Cricket Australia, the process side of it. It was a bit of a farce in the end."
WACA chief executive Christina Matthews wrote to Cricket Australia on behalf of the Scorchers side, as did Paul Marsh, CEO of the Australian Cricketers Association.
The match finished in extraordinary circumstances. The Stars were 0 for 29 after just two overs in pursuit of the Scorchers' record-low score of 69 when heavy rain halted play at 6.39 pm local time. As was explained by the umpires on the night, the BBL statement confirmed that another three overs of play were required to constitute a match. Play needed to resume at 7.51pm local time for those three overs to be bowled in time.
The rain stopped, as if by royal decree from Stars captain, spin king, Shane Warne. The umpires completed a field inspection at 7.35pm, deemed it fit for play, and rescheduled the match to start at 7.51pm. Both teams were notified. One Scorchers squad member suggested post-match that there was "no way the field was fit for play."
Under the Duckworth/Lewis method the target for the Stars was recalculated. The calculation, which itself has been disputed, ensured that the Stars required just six runs from five overs. Even though the Stars had already reached and exceeded the target, given the D/L target had changed when overs were lost play needed to resume to set the revised target.
Play resumed at 7.52pm after a minor delay. Hilton Cartwright bowled one ball to Rob Quiney, who allowed it to pass through to the keeper, and the match was over as the Stars had reached their revised target after 2.1 overs.
The BBL statement referred to clause 12.6.2 b (iii) of the playing conditions, "To constitute a match, a minimum of 5 overs have to be bowled to the team batting second subject to a result not being achieved earlier." League officials were adamant the correct processes had been followed.
Despite the official clarification reports emerged that coaches and players from elsewhere in the BBL were unhappy with the result given the importance of Warne, and the Stars, to the competition's success. Later, that extra ball bowled after the rain was expunged and the victory margin changed from 10 wickets to 24 runs.
*09.10GMT, December 14: This article has been updated to reflect the change in the victory margin.
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Perth