Umpiring controversy mars one-day series decider

New Zealand's one-day match with the West Indies ended in confusion today with an umpiring mistake possibly denying Paul Hitchcock the last over.

Uncertainty surrounded the number of overs the Wellington bowler had bowled.

As a result, the West Indies were able to score 15 off the last over, bowled by Daryl Tuffey, who had earlier been hammered for 34 off his first four overs, as the West Indies attempted to chase 292 to win.

New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming had wanted to bowl end-of-the-innings specialist Hitchcock but was told he had bowled his 10 overs. There was considerable dispute about this and a check of the scorebooks after the game showed the New Zealand book with Hitchcock on nine overs and the West Indian book showed 10 overs.

Fleming had sought several assurances from the umpires regarding the overs the bowlers had completed.

He filed a complaint about the umpiring to International Cricket Council match referee Wasim Raja after the game.

Much of the controversy centred around the local umpire Billy Doctrove, who was standing with International Cricket Council elite umpire Asoka de Silva.

Fleming, who believed that Hitchcock had one over left to bowl, was stopped from bowling him by the umpires who said he had bowled his complement.

At one stage during the match, the scoreboard at the ground had Hitchcock having bowled 10 overs when he had bowled only seven.

The umpires apparently admitted after the game they had made a mistake. The consequence of that is that a potentially series-equalling win was denied the tourists.

Doctrove was involved in several controversies on the day.

He gave New Zealand opener Nathan Astle out caught, when the bat hit his pad and not the ball.

When the West Indies appealed for a run out against Chris Nevin, who was clearly out, Doctrove failed to call for the television umpire, and Nevin was given not out.

A few overs later there was a similar call, which was again given not out when a replay may have shown different.

He was also involved in almost allowing a seven ball over to be bowled, only for de Silva to step in and prevent it.

When Shivnarine Chanderpaul hit a ball to the boundary for four in the last over Doctrove signalled it was a six, only to change the call after the New Zealanders asked for the third umpire to be consulted.

Doctrove was also the umpire involved in giving Astle out in the third one-dayer, leg before wicket when he was leaping in the air.

Earlier, New Zealand had given themselves every chance of tying the series, by scoring 291/8. Fleming scored 65 runs, Craig McMillan 83, Lou Vincent 55 and Chris Harris 29 not out.

Fleming and Nevin added 91 for the second wicket, McMillan and Vincent 139 for the fourth wicket.

Chris Gayle did best of the home side's bowlers taking four for 54 off 10 overs.

The West Indies put on 127 for the first wicket although they lost Chanderpaul with an arm injury that required a precautionary x-ray before he returned for the last over.

Gayle backed his bowling effort by scoring 67, Brian Lara 47, Carl Hooper 45, Ramnaresh Sarwan 52, Wavell Hinds 18, while Chanderpaul hit the third, fourth and fifth balls of the last over to the boundary. With the scores level Chanderpaul struck the final ball towards the boundary, before the crowd intervened, and the single run was enough for the win.

Of the New Zealand attack, there was encouragement in seeing Shane Bond causing the batsmen so many problems and finishing with the best figures of two for 41 off 10 overs.

Bond bowled a superb penultimate over, conceding only four runs off the bat while taking a wicket.