Middlesex’s website hit out at the umpires after a two-run DLS defeat to Gloucestershire at Radlett on Thursday, labelling the circumstances of the loss “slightly surreal and almost farcical”.
In a match marred by bad light, Middlesex – captained by Eoin Morgan – set Gloucestershire 180 to win, and after 13 overs the away side were 117-3 and winners on DLS had the match been ended then.
After the 13th over – bowled by leg-spinner Luke Hollman – the umpires were seen having a discussion before approaching Morgan, with the hosts continuing with four more overs of spin in the fading light.
After 17 overs, Middlesex were ahead on DLS after a couple of breakthroughs and Steven Finn – the right-arm quick – came back into the attack. Sixes from Ryan Higgins and Ian Cockbain in Finn’s over carried Gloucestershire to a victorious position on DLS before rain intervened and the umpires called for the covers and ended the match.
“In slightly surreal and almost farcical circumstances at Radlett last night, Middlesex can quite rightly feel frustrated at some of the decision making by the match officials, which played a large part in the result going against them last night,” read a match preview on Middlesex’s website for the county’s next match against Glamorgan.
“The umpires informed Middlesex skipper Eoin Morgan at the end of the twelfth over of the visitors reply over that he could no longer utilise his pace bowlers any more, given the light conditions,” the article added. “At this stage, Gloucestershire were ahead of the DLS and had the game been called early, the visitors would have walked off as the winners.
“With no spin options left to turn to, Morgan had no option but to return to pace, which, after much deliberation, the umpires agreed was now acceptable, despite the light conditions having noticeably worsened.”
Morgan himself expressed frustrations with the light situation after the match but backed the decisions made by the umpires. “The more frustrating thing from my side was that it was so dark, so early,” he said. “The fact that you’re forced to bowl spin when it’s probably not the most effective or the best option to do so at the time, for me as a captain, is more frustrating. That happened in about the 12th over and in a game of T20 cricket your hand is forced.
“[The light] was questionable the whole time, but there are two very experienced umpires standing out there and you have to trust them in their decision and back their decision the whole time. Given the situation that we found ourselves in, the right decision was made. It was dark by the end of the game and when it is dark, safety comes into it.”
After five games, Middlesex are bottom of the south group with one win from five games. Gloucestershire are fourth, with two wins, two losses and a no result so far.