The ICC has agreed to demands from Singapore that it look into events surrounding the ICC World Cricket League Division 5 match between Nepal and USA in Kirtipur which was marred by serious crowd trouble.
Singapore argue that Nepal only qualified for the final and so gained promotion as a result of the disruption. Until the stoppage, Singapore looked set to edge them out on net run-rate, but, so they argue, the revised target agreed by the ICC technical committee altered the equation in Nepal’s favour and they edged through by 0.0035.
The ICC, who dismissed initial complaints, belatedly decided to look into the complaint, which centres on the decisions of the technical committee. Nevertheless, it seems bewildering an immediate investigation was not launched into the riot itself.
It may help Singapore’s efforts that Imran Khwaja, chairman of the Singapore Cricket Association, is one the ICC executive committee, although insider said there was little chance of the ICC reversing the technical committee’s decision. “They will do what they always do in this kind of situation – nothing.”
An editorial in the Straits Times, was highly critical of the ICC. “Nepali fans are known to run riot when their team are losing. But is it Singapore’s fault that security measures at the Tribhuvan University ground in Kathmandu were inadequate to stop around 5,000 of them from throwing stones and invading the ground for nearly an hour? The ICC’s silence is deafening.”
The round-robin match was delayed for around 45 minutes after sections of the 12,000-strong crowd started to throw rocks and debris onto the outfield. Trouble had been brewing for some time as USA cruised towards an easy victory over the hosts, and riot police were already in situ when things got nasty.
While most people headed at speed for the exits and the teams fled from the field, a hard core of spectators continued to hurl anything they could grab hold of onto the playing area. Some reports suggested tear gas was fired into the stands.
Eventually order was restored, and as police cleared the rubbish from the outfield using wheelbarrows, the ICC technical committee deliberated as to whether to continue the game or abandon it and award the win to the USA. In the end, a Duckworth-Lewis revised target of seven from 14 overs was agreed on and the match ended quickly and in relative calm.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa