Bangladesh's nail-biting two-wicket victory over host Sri Lanka in the Nidahas T20I tri-nation series at R Premadasa Cricket Stadium in Colombo had come after ugly scenes in the middle. The Tigers made it to the grand finale of the series following all-rounder Mahmudullah's six in the second last ball of the chase. However, just moments before the end of the game, the two teams got involved in an altercation over a "no-ball decision".
Lower-order batsman Mustafizur Rahman was on strike when Sri Lanka left-arm pacer Isuru Udana came on to bowl the last over to defend 12 runs. The first delivery was a bouncer past Mustafizur's shoulder and the umpire had signaled one for the over. The next delivery also went over the Bangladeshi tail-ender's shoulder. Mustafizur though ran for a single only to get run out. Bangladesh batsman Mahmudullah ran to the leg umpire asking for a no-ball but the request went unheeded. The two on-field umpires then met for a discussion.
In between all the happenings, Bangladesh substitute fielder Nurul Hasan, who had got to the middle with water bottles, got involved in verbal exchange with Sri Lanka stand-in captain Thisara Perera. This saw Mahmudullah and the on-field umpires get in the way. And by this time, the other Bangladesh and Sri Lanka players already got involved, turning it into a mass brawl.
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Bangladesh substitute fielder Nurul Hasan argues with Sri Lanka stand-in captain Thisara Perera AFP
There was a brief moment when the Bangladesh players were seen hanging around by the boundary. Captain Shakib al Hasan at this point of time indicated the on-field batsmen to come off the field. The Bangladesh team analyst had given Shakib a nod of the ball being a no-ball. However, former Tigers captain Khaled Mahmud, the cool-headed Bangladesh team manager pushed Mahmudullah and new batsman Rubel Hossain to get back to the crease and finish the game. The game resumed and Mahmudullah flicked the third ball for a boundary. The fourth ball was flicked to deep mid-wicket for a double and in the fifth and penultimate ball, Mahmudullah went for the glory shot over backward square-leg. The entire Bangladesh team ran to the centre and celebrated wildly showing off the "Nagin dance".
Shakib, who returned to action through this game after recovering from finger injury incurred in January this year at home, refrained from making a detailed comment, but said, "I don't want to talk about it. But what happened was the square-leg umpire called a no-ball and after a discussion they cancelled it. I didn't think it was the right decision. I don't know what happened after the first ball, which was a bouncer, but after the second ball, the umpire called a no-ball. We are all humans, we should take it in the chin and move forward."
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka top-order batsman Kusal Perera, who had struck an innings-saving half century, said he and his side thought the delivery in question is legal.
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Bangladesh players celebrate AFP
"I think the head umpire, he didn't call the first bouncer. So that's a legal delivery," said Kusal.
"(The exchange between the players) can happen in the middle. Both teams and sets of players want to win the game and it's normal for things like this to happen," the left-handed batsman added.
The altercation between players of the two sides continued even after the game during the mandatory shaking of hands. It is understood that Shakib and Nurul were called for hearing following the game. Shakib is likely to receive demerit points while Nurul is likely to be slapped with a fine by the match officials. A decision from the ICC was yet to be received when this article was filed.