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Rishabh Pant to miss DC’s clash against RCB due to slow-over rate suspension

Bengaluru : In what comes as a huge blow for the Delhi Capitals, skipper and left-handed wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant is all set to miss his side’s upcoming clash against Royal Challengers Bengaluru in IPL 2024 after being handed a one-match suspension for a third slow over-rate offence in the tournament.

The IPL said in its statement on Saturday that DC recorded its third slow-over rate offence of the season during its 21-run win over Rajasthan Royals at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on May 7. Ahead of the last over of RR’s innings, DC were found ten minutes short on the innings timer, which meant they could field only four fielders outside 30-yard circle as per the in-game slow over-rate penalty.

Under the IPL Code of Conduct for over-rate offences, Pant was fined INR 30 lakh and suspended for one match, which means in all probability, he will miss Sunday’s all-important game at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium against RCB, a match extremely crucial from his side’s perspective in terms of the race for entering IPL 2024 playoffs.

As per Article 8 of the IPL Code of Conduct, DC filed an appeal challenging the ruling of the Match Referee. Following this, the appeal was referred to the BCCI Ombudsman Justice Vineet Saran for review. The Ombudsman conducted a virtual hearing and affirmed that the decision of the Match Referee remains final and binding, thus rejecting DC’s appeal.

In the virtual appeal, Pant, director of cricket Sourav Ganguly and head coach Ricky Ponting appeared on behalf of DC along with CEO Sunil Gupta. Also present in the appeal were Hemang Amin, BCCI CEO, on behalf of BCCI and concerned Match Referee Daniel Manohar.

Each team in the IPL is allowed 85 minutes to complete its 20 overs, which comes down to 4.25 minutes per over. In their match against RR at New Delhi, DC took 117.82 minutes to complete their 20 overs, which is in violation of the Minimum Over Rate requirements under the Code of Conduct.

The order issued on Saturday says the Match Referee granted an allowance of 26 minutes (automatic allowance of eight minutes and the discretionary allowance of 18 minutes) to DC. Despite taking this into consideration, DC exceeded the permissible time limit by 6.82 minutes and thus was behind by 1.6047 overs.

Ganguly submitted the claim that 13 sixes were hit by RR’s batters but the consequential ball retrieval allowance of 0.3 minutes was only granted thrice. It was submitted that the three minutes allowance granted for the review of the dismissal of RR skipper Sanju Samson was insufficient as the batter protested, which consumed extra time, and the dismissal also involved a review time of more than three minutes.

Ponting submitted that owing to delivery of multiple wide deliveries towards the late end of the innings by DC bowlers, there remained no time to compensate for the delay caused by using overs of spinners to boost the over-rate. He also said Pant should not be held responsible for the delay caused by the DC bowlers in the match.

Pant further said during the appeal that the delay was also caused because it was the hottest day in Delhi during the game-day and thus the heat was a major contributing factor in the slow-over rate. He added that the review involving the dismissal of Samson consumed approximately five-six minutes and thus the three-minute allowances granted in lieu of the same was inadequate.

The order from BCCI Ombudsman observed no statistical information was submitted by DC and skipper Pant in explaining exactly how much time was additionally consumed by the 13 sixes hit by RR batters and in the review of Samson’s dismissal, with the franchise dependent only on oral conjectural submissions.

Amin also shared that DC batters hit 12 sixes and yet RR’s over rate was maintained as per the Code of Conduct. He went on to share calculation chart that RR completed their first 20 overs inning in in 84 minutes and it became 102 minutes following the allowance of 18 minutes (automatic allowance of seven minutes and the discretionary allowance of 11 minutes) by Match Referee.

The order also said DC was unable to provide the calculations as to the time which was consumed in ball retrieval and reviews, as well as other delays during the arguments. Amin also informed that the entire video of the match is made available to the team video analyst.

It also observed DC were dependent on advanced oral submissions and failed to even file written submissions, for which liberty was specifically granted by the notice dated on May 9. “The franchise also failed to provide any evidence/calculation as to how the discretionary allowance granted by the Match Referee is inadequate or insufficient.”

“No evidence has been led by the Appellant to prove that the match day was the hottest day in Delhi. Further, it is a matter of common knowledge that the heat would certainly be on the lower side in the second inning, as compared to the first inning, in an evening match that begins from 07:30 PM.”

“Thus, in view of the fact that the Appellant bowled second in the match and have also failed to provide any evidence of the excessive heat on that day, the submission with respect to the delay caused due to heat is not liable to be accepted.”

“The contention of the Appellant that the delay was also caused because of several wide balls having been bowled, also does not benefit the Appellant as the same was caused by their bowlers for which the Appellant cannot claim any benefit.”

The order also said mercy has been pleaded by DC and Pant, due to the franchise being at a crucial juncture in IPL 2024 and the sanction by the Match Referee can jeopardize their qualification chances for the play-offs.

But the Ombudsman upheld the decision made by the Match Referee. Apart from Pant, rest of DC members in the Playing XI, including the Impact Player, were each individually fined either INR 12 Lac or 50 per cent of their respective match fees, whichever is lesser.

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