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Did Angelo Mathews Deserve the Controversial “Timed Out” Dismissal in SA vs Ban?

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In a surprising turn of events during the Sri Lanka vs. Bangladesh match at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, Angelo Mathews found himself dismissed before even facing a single ball, marking a historic “timed out” dismissal – a first in international cricket across all formats. Mathews, a veteran Sri Lankan all-rounder, had to depart the field in a unique and unfortunate fashion.

The incident unfolded in the 25th over of the Sri Lankan innings after Sadeera Samarawickrama was dismissed by Shakib Al Hasan, caught by Mahmudullah near the boundary. Mathews was slated to enter the crease at No. 6 but encountered a peculiar issue with his helmet as he made his way to the pitch. The helmet’s strap broke just as he was taking guard, causing a momentary delay.

As Mathews signaled to the dressing room for a replacement helmet, the Bangladesh team seized the opportunity to appeal for a “timed out” dismissal. Despite Mathews’ subsequent discussions with the Bangladesh players and the umpires, the appeal was upheld, much to his dismay. Consequently, Mathews was left with no choice but to walk back to the pavilion, having faced not a single delivery.

The “timed out” dismissal is a unique rule in cricket. According to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 playing conditions, after a wicket falls or a batter retires, the incoming batter must be prepared to face the ball, or for the other batter to be ready to receive the next ball, within two minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter can be given out as “Timed out.”

In Mathews’ case, he took more than two minutes to be ready to face the bowler even before the helmet strap issue arose, leading to the “timed out” decision. Adrian Holdstock, the fourth official at the match, clarified the dismissal and the related laws during the innings break.

He explained that the ICC World Cup playing conditions take precedence over the MCC laws of cricket and that specific protocols are followed to monitor the two-minute rule. In this particular instance, Mathews failed to be ready to receive the ball within the specified time, even before the helmet strap malfunctioned.

When asked whether equipment failure could have been considered a valid reason for the delay, Holdstock emphasized that batters must ensure that all their equipment is in proper working order before taking the field. The rule requires them to be ready to face the ball within two minutes, not just prepared to take guard.

This incident marked the first time in international cricket history, both in the men’s and women’s games, that a batter was dismissed under the “timed out” law. Angelo Mathews’ unique dismissal will undoubtedly be remembered as a rare and extraordinary moment in the world of cricket.

The unexpected turn of events and the subsequent discussions surrounding the dismissal added a unique dimension to the Sri Lanka vs. Bangladesh World Cup clash, offering a compelling topic of conversation for cricket enthusiasts worldwide. Mathews’ untimely exit serves as a reminder that the laws and regulations of the game can sometimes lead to exceptional and unprecedented occurrences on the cricket field.

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