Bangladesh’s World Cup group-stage victory against Sri Lanka in Delhi on Monday was engulfed in controversy after Angelo Mathews became the first player in 146 years of international cricket to be “timed out”.
It ended up being the chief talking point after a three-wicket win that took Bangladesh to seventh in the table. Sri Lanka refused to shake hands with their opponents after the match and Mathews called their captain, Shakib Al Hasan, “disgraceful”.
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The incident came in the 25th over of Sri Lanka’s innings when, after the fall of the fourth wicket, Mathews walked out to the middle. Discovering his helmet had a broken chin strap after taking guard, the all-rounder gestured for a replacement to be brought out.
However, World Cup regulations stipulate a batter must be “ready to receive the ball” within two minutes of the fall of the previous wicket. With this time elapsed, Shakib, the bowler at the time, surprised Mathews and spectators alike by appealing for timed out.
The umpire, Marais Erasmus, twice asked Shakib if he truly wished to go ahead with the appeal and the answer came back in the affirmative. It left a shellshocked Mathews out for a duck without facing a ball. The 36-year-old walked off and threw his helmet to the ground in disgust after reaching the Sri Lanka dugout.
Shakib, unrepentant after helping his side to chase down 280 and move into one of the eight 2025 Champions Trophy qualification spots, said: “I was at war and I had to take a decision to make sure my team wins. Right or wrong, there will be debates. But if it is in the rules I don’t mind taking those chances.”
Time’s up: Angelo Matthews points to his wrist after dismissing Shakib Al Hasan. Photograph: Matt Roberts/ICC/Getty Images
Mathews said: “It was disgraceful from Shakib and Bangladesh. If you want to play cricket like that and stoop down to that level, then there is something wrong, drastically.”
Though one of the nine modes of dismissal in cricket, being timed out has remained chiefly the stuff of anxiety dreams for players at all levels rather than a reality. There have been six instances in more than 61,000 first‑class fixtures, with Mathews becoming the first batter in history to lose a wicket this way in a List A match.
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MCC law 40.1 states that a batter has three minutes after the fall of a wicket to be in place to face their first ball, but the ICC regulations, which override the laws at international level, state it must be two. At the change of innings the fourth umpire, Adrian Holdstock, said this time was up before Mathews discovered the problem with his helmet.
Nevertheless, the rarity of such a dismissal and the fact it involved faulty protective equipment sparked a backlash. Waqar Younis, the former Pakistan international who was commentating at the time, was among those to question whether it was in the “spirit of the game”, a sentiment echoed by other past and present players on social media.
As usually occurs during similar “spirit of cricket” debates that result from the so-called Mankad dismissal – running out a batter at the non-striker’s end – there was also support for Shakib’s actions. Despite the loss, Mathews exacted a degree of revenge by removing Shakib for 82 in the run chase and pretending to point to a wristwatch in celebration.