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South Africa and Australia’s 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup match was marred by two controversial umpiring decisions that caused great consternation among fans and observers alike. Both dismissals were later overturned upon review; nevertheless they caused much confusion and upset to both teams involved.
The Smith Decision
In Australia’s 10th over of its chase for victory against South Africa, Smith was adjudged lbw by Kagiso Rabada and appealed against that call – Joel Wilson turned it down; South Africa reviewed and found evidence showing ball tracking that clipped leg stump so Smith was given out as out.
Many viewers felt the decision was harsh as Smith only just clipped the bail when playing defensive shots against Smith’s opponents, with no visible sign that any ball hit their wicket. Furthermore, no on-field umpire had given out an official warning when there was evidence suggesting a strike at wicket.
The Stoinis Decision
The second incident took place during Australia’s chase when Stoinis was caught behind off Rabada and appealed Wilson turned down their appeal, prompting South Africa to review this decision further. Wilson denied Australia their appeal on both occasions; South Africa, however, upheld Wilson’s ruling after they reviewed it further.
Replays showed that the ball had hit Stoinis’ glove before or after passing over his bat; it was impossible to ascertain exactly which direction it had come. As such, third umpire Richard Kettleborough overruled his on-field decision, giving Stoinis his due punishment and declaring him out.
Stoinis decision proved even more contentious than Smith, since there was inconclusive evidence of ball hitting glove. Many viewers felt that third umpire had made an error in ruling him out; many felt Stoinis should not have been called out at that time.
Impact of the Decisions
Umpiring decisions had a dramatic effect on Australia’s innings against South Africa on November 7, 2016. Australia relies heavily on Smith and Stoinis as two key batsmen; their dismissals left their team struggling to chase South Africa’s total of 311, and ultimately were bowled out for only 177 runs against 311.
Reaction to the Decisions
Fans and pundits alike were left exasperated over two controversial umpiring decisions made against Australia that caused much debate, as many saw these calls as being unfair and had an enormous influence over how this game transpired.
Former Australian captain Steve Waugh criticized the umpires’ performance during this match as they cost Australia the match and needed to be more consistent in their decisions-making processes. He stated this publicly after leaving their position of authority as captain for one final time during their recent retirement tour of South East Asia.
Ian Chappell was also disappointed in the umpires’ decisions; according to Chappell they had “raised many eyebrows”.
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Umpiring decisions that left many fans and observers feeling angered were among the main talking points at this year’s 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup tournament. These decisions called into question umpiring at its highest levels as they angered both spectators and participants in that particular match between South Africa and Australia.