If you thought Australia’s innings went slightly quicker than usual on Friday evening, you were correct.
The hosts only faced 119 deliveries in its must-win T20 World Cup match against Afghanistan at Adelaide Oval due to an umpiring error during the Powerplay.
The fourth over, delivered by Afghanistan seamer Naveen-ul-Haq, wrapped up in just five balls, with the umpires prematurely switching ends.
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On the fourth ball of the over, Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh slapped a slower delivery into vacant space at long on — he and veteran opener David Warner scampered through for two before sprinting back for a third following an overthrow.
However, instead of a “3” appearing on the broadcast graphics, a “2” popped up alongside an additional “3” in the fifth ball.
Naveen-ul-Haq’s fifth delivery was a dot ball, and the over was called — none of the players seemingly noticed.
Australia’s score was later rectified on the broadcast graphics, but the reigning champions never got that delivery back.
Five-ball overs are common in village cricket but a rarity on the international stage — particularly in a World Cup — and the blunder didn’t go unnoticed.
The umpiring mistake thankfully didn’t impact the final outcome, with Australia claiming a four-run victory over Afghanistan to keep its T20 World Cup dream alive — at least for another 24 hours.
If Sri Lanka defeats England at the SCG on Saturday evening, they’re through to the semi-finals. If England wins, their tournament is over.
Australia finds itself in such a precarious situation because of its woeful net run rate, which took a battering after last month’s massive loss to New Zealand.
Despite recording comfortable wins over Sri Lanka and Ireland, their net run rate never truly recovered, currently sitting at -0.173.
“We put ourselves in that situation, been trying to chase a bit of run rate but it hasn’t gone our way,” Australian captain Matthew Wade said during the post-match presentation.
“We were a bit slow out of the blocks this tournament, hopefully it doesn’t cost us.”