Cricket World Cup 2011

Toss row just a simple mix-up

2011-04-03 20:17
CWC final toss controversy (Gallo Images)

Mumbai - Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara insisted the toss mix-up that briefly threatened to engulf the World Cup final in a bizarre controversy was all a matter of a simple misunderstanding.

Video: Word Cup final toss controversy

The usually straightforward procedure had to be performed twice at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday before the final got underway.

After India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni spun the coin, it looked as if he thought he had won the toss.

But match referee Jeff Crowe did not hear a call from Sangakkara, who as the visiting skipper was supposed to nominate 'heads' or 'tails', in the noise generated by a 33 000 capacity crowd and so ordered a re-toss.

At the second toss, Dhoni threw the coin up again and Sangakkara called 'heads' before electing to bat.

It was later established by host broadcaster ESPN Star Sports that he had in fact made the same call the first time around after a flurry of Internet activity accusing the Sri Lanka captain of underhand behaviour.

"It was confusing," Sangakkara admitted afterwards. "No-one heard a call. Mahi (Dhoni) thought I had called wrong."

The incident did not prove decisive in a match where India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets with Dhoni 91 not out.

One man who would have been relieved was former New Zealand captain Crowe, who had already been at the centre of a World Cup final controversy.

Four years ago, when Australia beat Sri Lanka in Barbados, Crowe was the match referee who oversaw a mistake that led to the game resuming in farcical scenes amidst near total darkness.

The match officials had forgotten that, as 20 overs had been bowled in the second innings, a result could be declared.

When pressed afterwards, Crowe blamed the error on now retired South African umpire Rudi Koertzen, the television replay official at the Kensington Oval.

Crowe, on-field umpires Steve Bucknor and Aleem Dar (the latter in the middle again on Saturday), Koertzen and reserve official Billy Bowden were all banned by the International Cricket Council from having any role in the subsequent 2007 World Twenty20 in South Africa.


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