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No-ball fracas: Frustrated Pant says 'third umpire should have interfered'

Capitals assistant coach Shane Watson, however, says umpires' decision has to be accepted, right or wrong

Nagraj Gollapudi
Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant feels the third umpire should have "interfered" to adjudicate on the no-ball non-call in the final over of Friday evening's contest against Rajasthan Royals. He argued that the decision to stick with the on-field decision had proved "precious" for his team, which lost the match by 15 runs. The team's assistant coach, Shane Watson, however, differed with his captain, saying the umpire's decision had to be "accepted", and distanced himself from the scenes that followed, which included Pant asking his batters - Rovman Powell and Kuldeep Yadav - to walk out.
It was the third delivery of the final over of Capitals' chase of Royals' 222, a hip-high full-toss from Obed McCoy, which Powell pulled for a six. Having started the over needing 36 runs, Powell had just hit three sixes in a row. The six was signalled, but the Capitals camp expected a no-ball for height too, which would have shaved a run off the target and given them a free-hit, leaving Powell to pull off a task similar to what MS Dhoni had done the night before. There was no signal, though, and drama ensued as both Powell and Kuldeep questioned the on-field umpires Nitin Menon and Nikhil Patwardhan.
Pant and the rest of the Capitals dugout, too, were seen gesticulating from the dugout, asking their batters to pursue the argument even though the rules don't allow a no-ball to be referred unless a wicket is being reviewed.
Seeing the umpires stick to their guns, Pant even asked his batters to walk off, and Royals' legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal was seen attempting to stop Kuldeep from doing so. Chaos prevailed as Pant then asked Pravin Amre, another of Capitals' assistant coaches, to go in and speak to the umpires. At the same time, Watson tried to calm Pant down. Jos Buttler, who had hit what turned out to be a match-winning century earlier, also walked up to Pant, seemingly infuriated at Pant's actions.
The game eventually resumed, but Capitals fell short as McCoy corrected his line and bowled slower.
Pant later defended his actions. "In the end, Powell gave us a chance," he told Pommie Mbangwa in the post-match briefing with the host broadcaster. "I thought that no-ball could have been precious for us. I thought we could have checked that no-ball, but [that is] not in my control. Yes, disappointed, but can't do much about it."
The Capitals camp had been left "frustrated" by the umpires' refusal to refer the legality of that third delivery, Pant said. "Everyone in the ground saw it. I think third umpire should have interfered in between and said that was a no-ball, but I can't change the rule myself."
Asked by Mbangwa whether he regretted asking Amre to go in and talk to the umpires, Pant acknowledged his mistake, but reasoned that "obviously, it wasn't right, but what happened wasn't also right". "It was heat of the moment, can't do much about it," he said. "I think it was fault of both the sides, not only us, because throughout the tournament we have been seeing some good umpiring. I thought we could have done pretty well."
Watson: 'Have to accept umpire's decision'
Watson felt Pant might have been distracted by the way Capitals had to play catch-up throughout the match. "It is very disappointing what happened in that last over," Watson said. "Unfortunately, we were in that position in the game because we were not able to put things together for long enough throughout that game up until that point.
"In the end, the one thing at the Delhi Capitals you don't stand for is what happened. The umpires' decision, whether it's right wrong, we have to accept it. Someone running onto the field certainly we can't accept. It's not good enough."
Watson agreed that the stoppage allowed Royals to regroup. Sanju Samson spoke to McCoy during the stoppage in play to redraw his bowling plan for the final three deliveries, in which he conceded just three runs and had Powell caught off the last ball.
"There is no question when there is a big stoppage in play like that, it can change the momentum," Watson said. "It gave McCoy a little bit of time to regroup as well. That stoppage did play into Rajasthan Royals' hands. It was an unfortunate stoppage. In the end, the thing is you got to accept the umpires' decision no matter what it is - whether it is a good one or not so good one. You have just got to get on with the game.
"We are always taught as youngsters all the way through that we have got to accept the umpires' decision. That's what we should have done."
Sangakkara: 'Umpires control the game'
When he spoke, Samson decided to brush aside the controversy.
"It went for a six, it was a full toss," Samson told the host broadcaster. "Umpire gave it a normal ball. Batsman wanted it as a no-ball actually. Umpire made his decision very clear."
Royals' team director Kumar Sangakkara, too, toed a safe line at the post-match press interaction. "It is umpires that control the game," he said. "I know the IPL has a lot of pressure, lot of tension and things can go either way. I don't think I can really dictate what's acceptable and what's not."

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo