The 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy game between Bengal and Jharkhand ended in controversial fashion amid fading light at the TI-Cycles Ground in Chennai, with Jharkhand declared as the winning team via VJD method, with one over left in their chase. This, after slow over rates from both sides had dragged the match to 6pm after it had started at 9am.
After Jharkhand opted to bowl, they took four hours and 18 minutes to bowl their 50 overs. The 45-minute lunch break was subsequently reduced to 30 minutes and the chase began at 1.48pm when it was supposed to start at 1.15pm.
Bengal's over rate was slow as well and the light had faded to such an extent that the on-field umpires Sai Darshan Kumar and Rajesh Timaney, and match referee Sanjay Sharma called off the game at 6pm, when Jharkhand needed four off the last over with just one wicket in hand in pursuit of 268. Ultimately, Jharkhand were declared as the winning side by two runs via VJD method.
"If they had waited that long till 6, then it was just one over [to be bowled]," Bengal coach Sairaj Bahutule told ESPNcricinfo. "The board has to look into certain rules and it is in the discretion of the umpires to see if the compulsory 30-minute break could have been reduced. Jharkhand bowled 45 minutes overtime and that has to be considered. If that one over could have been played, we could have got a proper result - whether they win or we win.
"Certain rules are debatable. Also, Anand Singh (the Jharkhand opener who made 118) was cramping and we gave him the time he needed. He went out [retired hurt] and then came in - it [such breaks] were happening."
Jharkhand's Shahbaz Nadeem, who had been dismissed for a duck in the 37th over, said the light was too poor to continue playing and finish the last over. No. 10 Varun Aaron, who was unbeaten on 4 from 14 balls, agreed with Nadeem and said: "It was too dark and I could hardly see the ball."
"The light was too bad to keep playing and it was so bad that spinners also could not be bowled," Nadeem said. "Actually, the umpires took a reading on the light meter at the 46th over and told them only spinners could bowl. We pushed on for three more overs, but then the light had dropped further and it was called off in the end."
Nadeem put down Jharkhand's slow over rate to the oppressive heat in Chennai and ball changes in the first innings.
"The over rate was slow because it was very hot in Chennai and too many people suffered from cramps. Anand, in particular, in the second innings had cramps and in the first innings the ball was lost a couple of times and it had to be changed. So, that took some time. The players were trying to make up with the over rate but it was very hot and we could not in the end."
Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary and Jharkhand captain Ishan Kishan were both fined, with Bengal particularly smarting, having been stuck in the mid-table muddle in Group C with 12 points in six matches. Jharkhand are currently sitting pretty at the top with 22 points in six games.