Kent’s victory over the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Super50 on Tuesday has been marred by accusations of unsportsmanlike behaviour from their opponents, after Zak Crawley, the 20-year-old opening batsman, was denied his maiden List A century in what appeared to be a series of calculated incidents.
Going into the 45th over of their innings, Kent had got the match all but sewn up. They needed four runs to win with Crawley on 98 not out, having added 99 for the second wicket with Sean Dickson.
However, that requirement was reduced to two runs by consecutive wides outside off stump from the Leewards Island seamer, Sheeno Berridge, and Berridge might have bowled three in a row had Crawley not chosen to chase his third delivery, which earned him a single into the covers to take him to 99 not out.
Visibly keen for his partner to reach three figures, Dickson then chose to block Berridge’s next ball back down the pitch, before turning the fourth, a leg-side delivery, out through midwicket.
Crawley started to jog down the pitch for the winning run, but Dickson waved back him back. However, the Leewards Islands’ fielders chose not to intercept the ball, which rolled over the boundary for the winning run.
The incident attracted criticism on social media, not least from the former Kent captain, Rob Key, who felt that the Leeward Islands’ batsman Marlon Samuels – no stranger to controversy where English teams are concerned – was the instigator.
“99 not out for Zak crawley and then nice bloke marlon samuels got his bowlers to bowl wides so he couldn’t get 100,” Key wrote in a tweet that was subsequently deleted.
The incident was reminiscent of a similar controversy in last year’s Caribbean Premier League, when Evin Lewis, West Indies’ T20 opener, was denied a chance to reach a hundred for St Kitts and Nevis against Barbados, when Kieron Pollard bowled a no-ball with the scores level.
Pollard subsequently denied that that incident had been deliberate, saying that he had overstepped in straining for extra effort.
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