Cricket is the game of small margins and such margins can change the course of the match. There are many moments where umpires small mistakes lead to the change of the whole match. Take a look at the top five moments where the umpire’s decision changed the whole scenario of the match.
Worst Umpires Decision that Changed the Whole Game Scenario
1. Kumar Dharmasena in the 2019 World Cup Final
No doubt the number one on our list will be Kumar Dharmasena’s decision in the final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. The match was being played between England and New Zealand, where England were chasing New Zealand’s total of 241. As Ben Stokes was crashing in to win the game, the incident happened in the fourth ball of the 50th over. The ball was thrown back by Martin Guptill but as it was aimed for the stumps, Stokes’ bat came in between and the ball went for the boundary.
It was a bizarre scene and what was even worst that umpire Kumar Dharmasena gave it six runs instead of five. According to the law, unless the batsman had crossed when the fielder has thrown the ball, the additional run shall not be count.
However, that decision by Dharmasena changed the final outcome of the whole World Cup as the hosts won their maiden World Cup title. Here is the video.
2. Steve Bucknor vs Sachin Tendulkar
Steve Bucknor always had something against Sachin Tendulkar every time he officiates in an international match. But this one was a bizarre decision that happened in the 1st Test match at the Gabba in 2003. Steve Bucknor gave Sachin out to a ball that had not only bounced way too much but had also pitched a mile outside off.
3. Rudi Koertzen’s blunder
Rudi Koertzen’s blunder did not just only cost Kumar Sangakkara a double century, but it had also caused Sri Lanka a historical victory in Australia in which would have become the highest successful chase in Test history.
Chasing 507 runs, Sri Lanka had suffered a collapse which reduced them to 290-8. Kumar Sangakkara however, on one end was batting at 192 when he went for a pull shot against Stuart Clark and missed it by a country mile. The ball hit his arm and was caught by Ponting at 2nd slip.
Umpire Rudi Koetzer gave it out and Sri Lanka would lose the match by 92 runs. Had Sangakkara stayed on, this would have been the greatest chase in Test cricket’s history.
4. Joel Wilson’s decision denied Zimbabwe the highest run chase in World Cup history
The highest run chase in World Cup history is when Ireland chased down England’s 327 in 2011 World Cup edition. In 2015 World Cup between Zimbabwe and Ireland, Zimbabwe nearly broke that record.
Chasing Ireland’s 332, Zimbabwe were just hanging in there thanks to Brendon Taylor and Sean Williams’ 149 run partnership. With 32 needed off 19 balls, Williams hit one to deep mid-wicket and was caught. The decision went to the third umpire for confirmation. The decision went in Ireland’s favour and Zimbabwe lost the match by five runs.
5. The Sydney Test between Australia and India
The whole Test series in 2007-’08 between Australia and India was a poor one for India due to consistent umpiring errors. The 2nd Test in Sydney was no exception. There were so many decisions that would make you say “how is that given out/not out?”
The biggest impact of the Test match was the wicket of Andrew Symonds, which was not given. Andrew Symonds had nicked one to Dhoni off Ishant Sharma in the first innings. The Indian team was celebrating but umpire Steve Bucknor did raise his finger. Symonds would go on and score 162* that completely changed the game for India.
Here is the video where the Sydney Test saw many decisions did not go how it should have.
6. When England were awarded the Test match
Pakistan were involved in a lot of controversies when it comes to ball-tampering. However, in the tour of England in 2006, there was a strange moment which upset then captain Inzamam ul-Haq and his Pakistan side which led him to forfeit the match.
Just before tea on Day 4, umpire Darrell Hair alongside Billy Doctrove decided to change the ball and usually, they consult the bowling side the ball is being changed. But did not happen as both Doctrove and Hair instead consulted the English batsmen. The umpires believed that the Pakistani players were illegitimately altering the ball condition. Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul was bowling with some support of reverse swing that which made the umpires suspicious of such a moment.
There was no clear evidence found that support the umpire’s claim despite all the cameras at the London. And despite no evidence were found, Pakistan were penalized five runs for “ball-tampering.”
This upset Pakistan and they did not take the field after the tea break. The umpires went to the dressing room of Pakistan for a talk with the players. After that, they returned to the pitch and took the stumps off before awarding England the game on forfeit.
Both umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove received massive criticism by fans around the world for penalizing Pakistan on the base of ball-tampering, which was never there.
7. Hit-wicket twice, not-out twice
How many times you have seen that bails were off by a batsman bat/leg and umpires did not “noticed”?
It happened in 1984 between Australia and the West Indies second test match in Brisbane. Australian batsman Geoff Lawson knocked the bails down due to his boot touching the stumps. What happened next was that the umpire did was walk up to the stumps and put the bails back on as if it was blown by wind!
The two umpires were RA French and MW Johnson. It happened again when Michael Holding bowled to Lawson and again his boot had hit the stumps, resulting in the bails being dislodged from the stumps. Holding asked the umpires that the bails have fallen because of Lawson’s boots. But guess what? Umpire again walk up to the stumps and put the bails back on.
West Indies had won the match, which would have eased the situation. But imagine had they lost the Test match because of such silly moments by the umpires.
8. Sachin Tendulkar’s bizarre dismissal
We know there is a dismissal called “leg before wicket” or “LBW”. But have you ever heard of “Shoulder before wicket?”
Once again, this involves Australia and India where Indian star batsman Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed shoulder before the wicket.
The incident happened in the 1999 Test series in India’s tour of Australia. The visitors were asked to chase 387 runs to win. India had already lost three wickets in no time and that was where Sachin Tendulkar walked out.
It happened in the third ball of Australian legend’s Glenn McGrath over. Australians had placed three slips and gully for Tendulkar. Glenn McGrath bowled a ball short to Tendulkar, who saw the short ball and ducked. But what happened next is that the ball stayed a little low, which was surprising after pitching and it hit the shoulder of the batsman. The hosts appealed for an LBW, and umpire Daryl Harper gave Tendulkar the way to the dressing room.
According to the laws of cricket, the LBW applies to any part of a batsman’s body with an exception of the gloves. This impends the path of the ball. The Tendulkar decision was questioned with tons of controversies as it not only involved India’s best batsman bur was also debated that whether the ball really would have hit the stumps after pitching. And here is an interesting part, the replays suggested that the ball would have missed the stumps and Tendulkar would have survived. In the end, however, the call of the umpire stood.
9. When Muralitharan was called for “throwing”
Australia hosted Sri Lanka and England in 1999 Charlton and United Tri-series.
In the eighth game of the series, England and Sri Lanka faced off where the umpire incident eas involved.
16th over of the game was where the young Muttiah Muralitharan was introduced into the attack. After bowling the fourth ball of his second over, umpire Ross Emerson decided to call a no-ball ‘throwing the ball’ and he was standing at square-leg!
Ross Emerson had already problems with Muralitharan, who had been previously called for chucking. The bowler made a lot of adjustments before he was cleared by the ICC to continue with his bowling action.
Second umpire Tony McQuillanat had no complaints and not even did the English batsmen. But umpire Emerson kept calling for no-ball which led the Sri-Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga enough for such behaviour and was going to have none of it.
After a long talk with both umpires, he commanded his team to leave the field and also apologised to the English batsmen. After about fifteen minutes of stop of the play, the match referee and team manager managed to bring the Sri Lankans back on to the ground where the game was completed without further more incident.
10. Stuart Broad given not-out despite clear edge shown
The Ashes, 2013. First Test match.
On the biggest rivalry of the cricket had seen yet another controversy. England’s seam-bowler Stuart Broad refused to walk after he clearly nicked the ball to the slips.
Broad was batting on 37 as England took a good lead of 232 runs. The Australian off-spinner Ashton Agar came to bowl and had the batsman caught at slip in the last ball of the over. However, umpires failed to see that and ruled not out.
Broad would add another 28 runs in his total of 65 as Australia would end lose the match by just 14 runs. This came into the hot topic from everywhere and Broad was heavily criticised, given the outcome of the game of the biggest series.