Chennai Super Kings might have eventually won the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad easily by a margin of 20 runs on Tuesday evening, but there was a time when it looked like CSK would succumb to yet another defeat in IPL 2020. The 18th over of the SRH innings produced 19 runs with Rashid Khan playing a few cheeky shots to keep SRH in the chase.
The 19th over was handed to Shardul Thakur, who started aiming for the wide yorker outside the off stump. He missed the mark once and conceded a wide. With 24 runs needed off 11 balls Thakur bowled another wide delivery and on first look it seemed it would be called by the umpire Paul Reiffel.
Reiffel, a high profile umpire who has been a World Cup winner himself, had his hands half way in the air when he had a look at CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who was protesting vociferously as he realised it will be called a wide.
Bowler Shardul Thakur joined in the protest and suddenly Reiffel was seen consulting the video umpire on his earpiece. He eventually decided against calling the delivery a wide and that resulted in some anguish in the SRH dugout too.
Replays clearly showed that the delivery could have been called a wide. So, did Reiffel get bogged down by Dhoni's protest and changed his mind? Cricket commentators and former cricketers Ian Bishop and Deep Dasgupta feel Dhoni's reaction did play a role in Reiffel changing his mind.
"Paul Reiffel was going for that, for the wide, but then something happened and he changed his mind. He was halfway there, he was almost there but then he changed his mind and what intrigued me was he got on a 2-way thing with the third umpire as well," Deep Dasgupta told ESPNCricnfo during a video show.
"I'm someone who is very sympathetic to the umpires because I think it's a difficult job but tonight I'm going to say that Paul Reiffel made a mistake. He looked up, it was a wide, it should have been called a wide. He looked up, saw Dhoni and changed his mind," Bishop opined on the same show.
"I don't know whether intimidation is the right word here, I think it's too strong a word. But you kind of have a second thought about it. His [umpire's] initial reaction was a wide and we saw that since it was outside the tramline, we saw that and we did see the umpire change his mind. For whatever reason, MS Dhoni did change his mind," Dasgupta added.
CSK's victory took them to 6 points, the same as SRH from 8 matches. It is all to play for in the IPL with the wickets slowing down in the second half of the season.