Two runs to go, let’s take lunch


A lengthy break taken with a one-sided match just minutes from concluding? Expect it from cricket. Fans were left bemused after umpires called lunch with India two short of their target – with nine wickets and 31 overs to spare – in the Centurion ODI. South Africa had been bowled out in 32.2 overs for 118, their lowest total in a home ODI, and India came out to chase following a ten-minute changeover.

Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli were in fluent touch and, at the scheduled lunch time, India were within touching distance of victory, prompting the umpires to take a 15-minute extension. At the end of that added time, India were two runs away from a 2-0 series lead when, to the consternation of Kohli, the umpires – following the letter of the law – called “lunch”. Despite the result being a foregone conclusion, play stopped for about 40 minutes and the Sunday crowd in Centurion had thinned out considerably before the game resumed.

India duly completed the win nine balls after the restart, but questions remained over whether a tweak to the game’s rules could offer a more commonsensical approach to prevent more such absurd endings.



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