Chittagong: England captain Stuart Broad said he and New Zealand counterpart Brendon McCullum considered taking their players off the field due to fears they could be struck by lightning in their World Twenty20 clash on Saturday.
Heavy rain forced the players off after 5.2 overs of New Zealand’s innings, with McCullum’s side winning the game on the Duckworth-Lewis method, and both sets of players had been concerned about lightning strikes in the previous over.
Umpires Aleem Dar and Paul Reiffel had kept them out on the field before the rain forced them off in the Group 1 match in the World Twenty20 in Chittagong.
The Duckworth-Lewis method only comes into play in Twenty20 if both sides had faced a minimum of five overs.
“To be as polite as I possibly can be, I think it was distinctly average decision making, keeping us out there after the first lightning strike,” Broad told reporters in his post-match media conference.
“It’s not sour grapes because I think both sides were uncomfortable about being out there with such heavy lightning around.
“I asked the umpires for a bit of clarity on the decision making at the end of the game and they didn’t see the lightning and didn’t think it was a threat.” Broad added that he and McCullum, who was batting at the time, had discussed the possibility of ignoring the umpires and taking their teams off.
“When the umpires got together and kept saying it was fine, Baz (McCullum) and I had a discussion about taking our players off the field because we didn’t agree (with them),” Broad said.
“At the end of the day it’s a game of cricket and I don’t think the crowd and players should be under threat.
“Personally, if I’d have been in their shoes I would have had the players off the field but that’s not the way its worked.” The two sides remained on the field and McCullum belted the final ball of the fifth over, off Broad, for a six that took New Zealand past the Duckworth-Lewis target score.
New Zealand finished on 52-1 when rain forced them off.
Veteran New Zealand swing bowler Kyle Mills, who said he was “cowering in the dressing room” during the lightning strikes, felt McCullum’s six-ball innings of 16 had been crucial in the situation.
“Brendon summed up the situation pretty well. He knew bad weather was on the way and … he really showed some initiative and got us over line,” Mills said. “It was a fine knock.” Mills refused to blame the umpires for keeping the players on the field.
“The umpires are out there trying to make decisions to the best of their ability,” Mills said.
“They want to get a full game of cricket on and they’re trying to make a judgement call as how they see it.
“It just so happens we got another over in during the game.
“The lightning and thunder could have passed through in those six balls and everyone out there was trying to make the right decision for everyone involved.”