South Africa v West Indies, Champions Trophy, Group B, Cardiff June 15, 2013

Six crucial moments

A look back at key moments which took away time from the already truncated virtual quarter-final encounter

The match was called off at 7.56pm, which was 41 minutes beyond the limit a match can go to, after adding the extra one hour to the scheduled close of play. Players played through rain on more than one occasion, and towards the end the umpires tried their best to get a full 31 overs in. And clearly, as the tie that took South Africa ahead and knocked West Indies out illustrates, it was a game of fine margins. Here are some of the instances where precious seconds, or minutes, might have been lost or gained. This is not necessarily a criticism of how the game was run, but just those tantalising moments or spells that we will look back at and wonder.

West Indies' over-rate
It was abysmal for a side that knew that shared points in this match would do them no good. They should have been desperate to bowl their 31 overs in time, and make sure they got a game in. However, they took two hours and 34 minutes to bowl their 31 overs. That's 154 minutes to bowl 31 overs. They should have ideally bowled 36.4 overs in this much time. The match referee, after making all allowances for injuries, unscheduled drinks and balls lost in the River Taff, found West Indies one over short. What they would give now to face that over.

The innings break
Despite such long delays, we still had a half-hour innings break. The playing conditions make a provision for a shortened break, but only if the time had been lost just before the innings ended. They say: "(iii) Note: The prescribed interval timings above may be reduced further [from 30 minutes] by the ICC Match Referee taking into account the intention of not having a prolonged interval after a lengthy interruption close to the conclusion of the innings of the team batting first. However, the minimum interval shall not be less than ten minutes."

Here the match referee followed the book, but for once the ICC's book, usually carefully and well-worded, seems to have made a mistake.

The review
At the end of the 15th over of the chase, there was an lbw appeal against Devon Smith. South Africa reviewed it, and found that Smith was plumb. The decision was reversed. It is hindsight - as all is - but imagine if he had been given out originally or if South Africa had not reviewed it. This is not to say what happened was wrong - the DRS was used, and used well - but these were important seconds.

The inconclusive delay
Immediately after Smith got out, a drizzle forced the players off the ground. It was 6.38pm then, and they were back on the field at 6.44pm. We had already and obviously been maxed out on time, but when they came back the target and overs remaining were unchanged. After a point of time, we lose an over every 4.2 minutes, and we were well beyond that time, but it turns out the umpires took off the drinks break that was imminent in 10 minutes to readjust the six minutes lost. Had they taken even one over off then, who knows things might have turned out differently?

The referral
In the 26th over, four balls before the final ball was bowled, Kieron Pollard took a risky second run, but the throw from deep midwicket was wide. AB de Villiers, the wicketkeeper, hadn't even collected the ball when he broke the wicket, and Pollard was anyway well past the stumps - forget the crease - by the time he did so. However, the square-leg umpire still went to the third umpire to confirm the obvious. Crucial seconds lost, but you can't blame the umpires too much considering all the complex calculations they were putting in.

South Africa's over-rate
Despite being the team that could walk away happy with shared points, South Africa were not slow with their over-rate. They bowled 26.1 overs in two hours and two minutes, after making the adjustment for the six-minute rain break. The prescribed over-rate suggests they should have bowled 28.4 overs in such time. That's only 2.3 overs short before making the same allowances for West Indies. It is entirely possible they got in those extra deliveries thanks to their quicker over-rate, which eventually kept them alive in the tournament.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ayesha on June 16, 2013, 23:50 GMT

    @Mandela Meogul Espinet: Zak is correct. The truth is often bitter, but one must have the courage to accept it. West Indies may have a bunch of very talented cricketers, but it is the better team that has progressed. I will not waste time explaining this since CDUP has already summed up what I also had to say.

  • C on June 16, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    @Mandela - SA should be glad that the rain came? Why? WI was the lucky team, since the rain reduced the match to 31 overs, and it is a well known fact that SA is quite poor at T20 matches, while WI is one of the top T20 sides - so the shorter game worked against SA but suited WI just fine and somehow they still managed to botch it. We can all say "could have, would have, should have": WI could have won if the match didn't end so suddenly... SA could have won if it was a 50 over (proper one day) match from the start, or if three of their best one day players weren't injured. Unfortunately, we have to face the reality of the situation - it rained and both teams were forced to adjust. From the result, I think it is clear which one adjusted better.

  • Dummy4 on June 15, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    To the idiot Zak who said that West Indies would hv obviously still lose this match and are lucky that the rain came to even put them in the frame, i say to you STOP being biased and ignorant.. Apart from Steyn, the rest of SA bowlers were not dangerous.. Steyn had 1 more over and west indies needed jus over 8 runs and over.. Darren Sammy could hv made that by himself, needless to say with the help of bravo, that target was very achievable.. SA are the ones who should be glad that not only the rain came, bt that WI didnt pay attention to detail.. If they did, they would have realized they were ahead, and Pollard just might have kept his composure and not throw away his wicket, which proved the decisive factor.. I am WI, bt good luck 2 SA nonetheless.. Think they will need it again if they are to win this tournament..

  • Dummy4 on June 15, 2013, 11:31 GMT

    My MoM yesterday was Steyn as I believe the reward should be given based on the Impact a player made on the match. The WI chase did not reach 191 only because of Steyn. He actually muted the Gayle, Pollard, Samuals and Charles..

  • Alex on June 15, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    Was at the ground and the amount of time - on a rain hit day - lost to all the peripheral business like the ICC ceremony (boring) the national anthems, the ridiculous drum routines on the boundary (sometimes these actually held up play waiting for them to finish while all players and umpires were ready) and the player preparation/warm ups was excessive. I know the players need to warm up but can they not do it in the indoor school at the ground or (I dare suggest) on the damp outfield. I think 45 minutes during the day of good playing conditions was lost to this nonsense. WI could have won, SA could have won - we could have had a conclusive result, rather than a damp squib. Good game though! Will not forget Gayle hitting Steyn for straight four first ball, or how Samuels hit the ball, or Steyn's bowling, SA's excellent running between the wickets and fielding. SA deserved the win but a sad way for WI to miss out.

  • Dummy4 on June 15, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    Who's to say WI would have lost the game anyways? I find that out of place to say simply because Darren Sammy who came in can just beat any bowler out of the park. Remember the dark World cup final? Why wasn't that stopped? Where was the time then?

  • Dummy4 on June 15, 2013, 9:37 GMT

    unfortunately the whole take overs off for slow over rate doesnt really work as that only punishes the team bowling first - if they could find a way to punish teams bowling second then perhaps but that seems to be asking for a lot of criticism when close matches are decided by taking or not taking off overs?

    Also I know its annoying that the ICC have to bend to TV schedules but they are being paid by the TV companies so unless someone is prepared to put millions of their own cash in then we just have to live with it.

    And lastly! finally some luck for us SAFFAS woohooo what an exciting game, I'm still buzzing

  • Zak on June 15, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    If you take a step back, and look at SA scoring 230/3 versus the WI 190/6 - with the last recognised batsmen at the crease - it's fair to say that SA should have won with just the 31 overs getting played. Had the full 50 overs been available, the gulf would have been even bigger. Yes, WI were unlucky in a way, but they were lucky that the rain brought them into the frame at all, really.

  • David on June 15, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    South Africa WERE slow with their overs, just slower than West Indies. We have come to the stage where we make so many excuses about why teams can go slow eg. DRS, but teams just haven't adapted and tried to bowl their overs faster. There isn't a lot of consequences. I liked the old rule of if you were 3 overs too slow when you bowled, you faced 3 less overs in your innings.

    And the other unmentioned point is a potential moment #7: the ICC and their TV deal excluding the idea of a reserve day on which a match could be concluded/replayed. Makes common sense, you fly the players halfway round the world to play, but insist on cramming their game into one small window.

  • Dummy4 on June 15, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    SA is my favorite team to win this time. Sometimes luck also has to go their way. There has been many incidences when their fate is completely ruined by the luck. AB is my favorite player and he has risked in this match by bowling dale Steyn for 6 overs (only one over was left for the last crucial overs) just for the chances of rain so luck had to pay for his risk.

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