Frustrated Surrey quick Jade Dernbach has criticised the 12-run penalty handed to his side for a poor over-rate in an English domestic T20 match, with the county's stand-in captain saying the competition's time-keeping has been inconsistent.
Australia limited-overs opener Aaron Finch struck his second half-century in as many games for Surrey on Sunday but Somerset, boosted by the awarding of the extra dozen runs late in their run-chase, nearly reeled in Surrey's 181 in an entertaining match at The Oval.
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With three overs left, Somerset still required 51 to win with only two wickets in hand.
But hard-hitting New Zealander Corey Anderson smashed sixes off the first two balls of the 18th over as the umpires confirmed the 12-run penalty – six runs per over not yet bowled – when Surrey's allotted time to bowl their 20 overs elapsed during that over.
It meant Somerset needed a more achievable 23 off the final 12 balls with Anderson in full flow. Finch then ran the Kiwi allrounder out for a brilliant 81 (off 45 balls) to have the hosts breathing a huge sigh of relief.
Dernbach later accused on-field umpires David Millns and Paul Baldwin of failing to keep him informed of their supposedly slack over-rate and claiming the size of London venue too meant they were effectively being punished for taking wickets.
"There needs to be a consistent level of time-keeping," the former England paceman said.
"Against Essex at Chelmsford last Friday evening the clock was stopped several times and there was a big screen on the ground which showed exactly where we were at all times.
"Here, the first I really knew about it was when the penalty was given. I was pretty much in the dark.
"Effectively, too, with no time being allowed for all the wickets falling, we were being penalised for taking too many of their wickets too early.
"The Oval is a big ground and it takes longer for batsmen to walk out here than many other venues."
The England and Wales Cricket Board's playing conditions for the domestic T20 competition show the officials had followed the correct procedure in imposing the penalty on Surrey.
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"All sides are expected to be in position to bowl the first ball of the last of their 20 overs within 1 hr 15 minutes playing time," Law 16.6 reads.
"In the event of them failing to do so, the full quota of overs will be completed, and the batting side will be credited with 6 runs for every whole over that has not been bowled.
"If the side batting second is credited with runs in this way and this consequently takes their score to or past their victory target then the match shall be deemed to be won by the side batting second.
"All penalties in this regard will be imposed immediately the ball first becomes dead after the scheduled or re-scheduled cessation time for the innings."
The issue of slow over-rates have been in sharp focus this week, with many lamenting South Africa's sluggish pace on the opening day of the first Test against England at Lord's.
As it stands the International Cricket Council – whose penalties are issued in the form of fines, and match bans for repeat or severe offences, rather than runs – is yet to announce any punishment for the Proteas.
But with prodigious paceman Kagiso Rabada slapped with a one-Test ban after earning a fourth demerit point for a foul-mouthed send-off of Ben Stokes, former England captain Michael Vaughan suggested the ICC would be better advised policing over-rates.
Rababa Suspended for 1 match for a couple of Words ..... Give me a break ... what about the continuous slow over rates @icc !????????— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) July 7, 2017
Stand-in Sri Lanka captain Upul Tharanga was banned for two one-day internationals during last month's Champions Trophy after a "serious" over-rate offence.
Tharanaga's charges took more than four hours to bowl their 50 overs against South Africa in their Group B clash at The Oval, an effort labelled as "ridiculous" by former New Zealand skipper and international coach Stephen Fleming.
And the Islanders found themselves in hot water again this week with regular skipper Angelo Matthews fined 20 per cent of his match fee and his teammates each forced to hand over 10 per cent of their payments from the third ODI against Zimbabwe.