There’s no point crying over a T20 international – especially one everyone will have forgotten by this time next week – but England were a little hard done by in Nagpur yesterday. We were pretty much cruising to victory, with just eight runs needed off the last over, when an umpire with a trigger finger as itchy as Billy The Kid’s intervened on the host’s behalf.
Joe Root wasn’t playing particularly well at the time – he’d mistimed a few slogs – but his calm head and ability to pick up the ones and twos was all England needed. Instead he was sawn off (excuse the Root pun) in the most brutal and quite embarrassing fashion by an umpire who either (a) temporarily lost his sanity, or (b) succumbed to the pressure of forty thousand Indian supporters shouting ‘howwwwzzzzat’ at 150 decibels.
When I first saw the delivery my initial reaction was “why on earth is he appealing for that”? It looked too high and was clearly going down leg. It also looked like Root had got a sizeable inside edge. In other words there were three very obvious reasons why it wasn’t out. In fact, I assumed the appeal was simply one of those attempts to distract the batsman so he wouldn’t take a quick single.
But then the umpire raised his finger and all hell broke lose. Oh dear.
Although England didn’t help themselves after the controversial dismissal – Jos Buttler showed he’s human after all by choking big time thereafter – Root’s wicket definitely swung momentum and made India believe again. Credit to Bumrah for bowling a very impressive final over.
England’s bad luck was compounded by the fact that Virat Kohli was completely plum lbw during India’s innings earlier in the day – but obviously given not out. The ball was knocking middle stump out of the ground but once again the umpire either (a) temporarily lost his sanity, or (b) didn’t want to incur the wrath of the partisan and somewhat delirious home crowd.
Just when England needed Billy The Kidd, bloody Calamity Jane showed up.
Although England lost yesterday our T20 team continues to look rather useful. Chris Jordan bowled very well and Moeen Ali continues to keep a calm head when the batsmen go after him. I’d be interested to know what his pulse rate is.
The teams will now play a deciding T20 in Bangalore in a couple of days’ time. It should be very interesting. These two teams have been quite close throughout the ODI and T20 series and it has made for some entertaining cricket.