England captain Stuart Broad was fined on Sunday after blasting umpires as “distinctly average” who put players in danger when lightning hit his team’s World Twenty20 clash with New Zealand.
New Zealand were declared winners by nine runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method after the umpires called off the Group One match due to persistent rain in Chittagong on Saturday.
Broad had sought guidance on when the weather should stop play after on-field umpires Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Paul Rieffel of Australia failed to stop the game despite thunder and lightning when New Zealand were chasing a 173-run target.
The umpires waited until heavy rain fell. Even after a 25-minute delay the match could not be resumed.
At 52-1 after 5.2 overs — nine runs ahead of what they needed under the Duckworth-Lewis method, New Zealand were declared the winners.
Broad, who was fined 15% of his match fee, felt aggrieved because had play been stopped before the end of the fifth over it would not have counted as a complete match, resulting in one point for each team.
He said the umpires’ decision cost his team the match.
“To be as polite as I possibly can be, I think it was distinctly average decision-making, keeping us on after the first lightning strike at the start of the fifth over, keeping us on throughout that,” Broad said after the match.
Ironically, it was Broad who was hit for 16 runs by his counterpart, Brendon McCullum, which lifted New Zealand well clear of the required target.
“That over has obviously given us a loss,” said Broad, whose team next face Sri Lanka on Thursday.
Broad pleaded guilty to a Level One charge of publicly criticising match officials.
“Umpires are the final judges of the fitness of the ground, weather or light for play. Weather decisions are the most difficult to make, but the umpires make the best decision possible, taking all factors into account,” said ICC match referee Javagal Srinath.
“Such public criticism is not good for the spirit of the game. Mutual respect between players, match officials and administrators is paramount to the game of cricket.”
Broad had called for clarity on the decision from the ICC.
“I think you should have an umpire in here for some clarity, to be honest,” he said. “There are some questions that need asking to the ICC.
“I mean it’s all very well wanting to finish a game so you can tick a box, etc, but players’ health and safety and actually crowd safety is very important and that to me felt like very threatening lightning.”
Broad said the umpires denied they had seen the lightning.
“I asked the umpires for a bit of clarity on the decision-making at the end of the game, and they said they didn’t see the lightning and didn’t think it was a threat.
“You can guarantee from our team we felt like it was a threat, and with a batsman pulling away from a delivery after 4.2 overs I think the batsman saw it as well,” said Broad of McCullum pulling away after the first lightning strike.
“At the end of the day it’s a game of cricket so I wouldn’t be putting the crowd and players’ safety under threat.
“It’s not sour grapes because I think both sides were uncomfortable being out there in such heavy lightning being around,” added Broad.