© Getty Images

With scores level and Evin Lewis one hit from his century, Pollard jogged up and not only over-stepped by a long way but bowled a slower bouncer that would have likely been called ‘wide’ had it not been a no-ball. © Getty Images

Kieron Pollard’s decision to send down what looked like a deliberate no-ball to deny Evin Lewis an incredible century in St Kitts & Nevis Patriots’s ten-wicket win over Barbados Tridents in the 2017 Caribbean Premier League on Sunday (September 3) has been widely criticised in the cricket community.

St Kitts were chasing Barbados’ 128 for 9, and Lewis had smashed his way to 97 runs from just 32 balls and was on strike with scores level when Pollard started the eighth over of the innings. Pollard jogged up and not only over-stepped by a long way but bowled a slower bouncer that would have likely been called ‘wide’ had it not been a no-ball.

From October 1, the new Marylebone Cricket Club Laws will come into effect, and under the new regulations, if the umpire considers that the bowler has delivered a deliberate front-foot no ball, the umpire will call it and “when the ball is dead, direct the captain of the fielding side to suspend the bowler immediately from bowling” and “inform the other umpire for the reason for this action”.

Danny Morrison, in the commentary box, reacted to the Barbados captain’s questionable act straightaway by saying he was “disappointed”. “(Lewis) deserved a hundred and I’ve got to say, as positive and excited as I am, it’s a pretty disappointing way for Pollard to finish the game,” said Morrison.

Lewis grabbed the chase by the scruff of its neck after Chris Gayle, his opening partner, had hit two fours in the first over. Gayle faced the entire first over, but played just eight more balls, ending with 22 not out from 14, as Lewis went hammer and tongs.

He swung the first ball he faced, off Wayne Parnell, for six over midwicket and hit two more sixes in that over – the second of the innings – before getting to his half-century off just 19 balls. Lewis continued in the same vein as St Kitts & Nevis became the first team to cross the 100-run mark inside the Power Play – 105 for no loss – in the CPL.

“It hurts (missing out on the hundred), but hitting 97 not out off 33 balls – I’ll take that any day,” said Lewis, who hit six fours and 11 sixes. “I’ve been hitting the ball long and hard in the nets. I’m confident now and looking forward to the playoffs.”

Suraj Randiv, the Sri Lankan offspinner, had invited the ire of cricket fans for a similar act during a One-Day International in Dambulla in 2010, when he bowled a no-ball to deny Virender Sehwag, on 99, a century as India won the game.

Speaking after the match, all Pollard offered on the anti-climactic ending was, “That ending sums up our campaign.” Barbados recorded four wins from ten games to finish at No. 5 in the six-team table while St Kitts qualified for the knockouts at No. 2 on the table.