Cricket Australia will conduct a "thorough investigation" into the circumstances surrounding Sunday night's abandoned JLT One-Day Cup match at North Sydney Oval due to what umpires deemed to be a dangerous pitch.
With Victoria 4-108 after 26 overs chasing New South Wales' 144 all out, the umpires came together in the centre. After several minutes of conversation, they shook hands with NSW captain Peter Nevill and Victoria counterpart Peter Handscomb to signal the match had been abandoned.
"The umpires decided, as in JLT Rule 2.7.2, that conditions were dangerous and there was an actual and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player participating in the match," said a Cricket Australia Spokesperson.
"As play was abandoned and the match had passed the minimum overs requirement for a match, Duckworth Lewis Stern was used to determine the result, including any bonus points. Victoria were 1.25 times ahead of the Net Run Rate and as such Victoria secured the bonus point.
"Cricket Australia will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances around this abandonment, as is stated in the JLT Rules (6.4.6), and will revert to the teams with those findings."
The issue of the bonus points remained unresolved until 90 minutes after the match when it was announced the Bushrangers had been awarded the extra point, which has important consequences for the top-three placings for the upcoming finals series, to be played in Hobart on Thursday and Saturday.
The Bushrangers' victory marked the end of NSW's quest for a third-straight domestic one-day title, irrespective of the bonus point. However, the bonus point they also collected all but ended Tasmania's finals hopes.
The Tigers, who face Queensland in Hobart on Tuesday, now need a double bonus point victory to have any chance of leapfrogging Victoria into the finals. Queensland are already out of finals contention. The JLT Cup finals system sees the top placed team advance straight through to the final while the second and third placed teams face off in an elimination final on Thursday.
Tuesday's match at North Sydney Oval between Western Australia and the Cricket Australia XI will be played on an adjacent wicket to the one used yesterday, as will the Women's Ashes Test match, beginning November 9.
Cricket Australia said umpires had "raised concerns on the unevenness of the pitch throughout the first innings, and noted this at the interval".
"According to the match referee across the day, there were around 10-15 balls that jumped off a length, while others were keeping lower than expected," the spokesperson added.
"In the last three overs of the match, four or five balls jumped dangerously, including the last two balls of the 26th over.
"On coming together the umpires and match referee decided that the conditions were dangerous. That is, that there was actual and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player."
Cricket NSW chief executive Andrew Jones took to Twitter to vent his frustration at the way the match ended.
"(Bushrangers) well ahead in the game but it should have been played to a conclusion," he wrote. "The drop in wicket was up and down all day.
"It should be a No Result. Conditions didn't change all game so if it was dangerous for one side it was dangerous for the other."
Jones also called for all officials involved to "be fired immediately".
Confusion around the bonus point issued stemmed from the scores at the time of the abandonment, with Victoria still needing 37 runs to complete victory. Under the JLT Cup playing conditions, one bonus point is awarded for a team that achieves victory with a run rate 1.25 times that of the opposition. When the match was stopped, Victoria had a run rate of 4.15, which was less than 1.25 times the 3.40 the Blues managed in their innings.
However, taking the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern par score from when the match was stopped put Victoria's run rate well ahead of the mark required for a bonus point, and that was the basis from which officials eventually made their decision.
The result means South Australia and Western Australia are guaranteed a top-three finish. Mathematically the final order of the top three spots will be finalised after the CA XI v WA match at North Sydney on Tuesday.