Crowe takes blame for fiasco

Fittingly, the 2007 Cricket World Cup ended in a farce as Sri Lanka and Australia finished the final three overs of the match in near darkness, in Barbados yesterday.

With three overs left to complete their rain reduced 36 overs, the Sri Lankan batsmen were offered the light, at which point the Australian players started celebrating their World Cup victory, a victory announced on the scoreboard and on TV screens worldwide.

With the stumps taken out and the presentation ceremony making its way onto the ground, the umpires interrupted the Australian celebrations to inform them they would have to return the next day to complete the remaining three overs, apparently under the insistence of third umpire Rudi Koertzen.

To his credit, Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene defused the situation by allowing his men to return to the field, now dark, if Australia would bowl spinners to see out the match.

Match referee Jeff Crowe took responsibility for the incident in a press conference yesterday.

“In hindsight, I should have known the rules and said the game had been called off,” said Crowe.

“I’m very embarrassed for the playing control team today. For me the real confusion has come from the fact we were talking about resuming the game tomorrow – which was technically wrong.”

“I certainly hope it is not a resignation issue but you are always accountable at the end of the day.”

Crowe admitted it was Koertzen’s idea to continue the match a day later, but insisted Koertzen shouldn’t accept the blame for the drama.

“Rudi was certainly involved in the process. He was talking about allowances and the possibility of tomorrow.

“Just because Rudi suggested it early doesn’t mean the other umpires could not have overruled him.”

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