Dhoni fined for umpiring outburst
Indian legend and current Chennai Super Kings captain, MS Dhoni, has been fined 50% of his match fee for a Level 2 Offence under IPL's Code of Conduct after he walked onto the field in the final over of his team's chase following a no-ball reversal by the umpires.
The situation occurred during a thrilling run chase which saw Dhoni's side requiring 18 runs to win off the final over against the Rajasthan Royals. Dhoni himself was at the crease at the beginning of it, and after ten runs came off the first two legal deliveries (a no ball was bowled as well), he was bowled on the third ball of the Ben Stokes over, leaving CSK eight runs to get off three balls.
Enter the controversy. Stokes bowled a waist-high full toss to new batsman Mitchell Santner, and a no ball was immediately called by the controlling umpire. The square leg umpire (who would typically make the call in these situations) disagreed, and overruled the no ball call. Incidentally, Santner hit the ball for two – if the no ball had stood, CSK would have required just five runs off three balls with a free hit to come, rather than five runs off two balls. Quite a significant difference.
Dhoni, evidently not in agreement with the overruling, then walked onto the field from the player's bench to argue the case of his team. It was immediately clear that there would be consequences for these actions, even in the midst of all the emotions – as important as it may have seemed to get that decision right, it's generally frowned upon for captains to march onto the field when they disagree with a decision.
Unsurprisingly, Dhoni's concerns did nothing to change the minds of the umpires, and the non no ball call remained. Ultimately, it proved irrelevant – after a two and a wide, Santner tonked Stokes back over his head for a six to clinch the game in one of the most dramatic final overs in IPL memory.
Throughout a long and illustrious career, Dhoni has been renowned for his ability to keep a cool head, both in his performance itself as well as his demeanour. On this occasion, he temporarily lost that ability, and a punishment was inevitable from the moment he stepped over the boundary rope.
Fortunately for both Dhoni and his Chennai Super Kings, that punishment was solely a financial one and won't see him miss any games – an appropriate penalty for what was an inappropriate action, but not one worthy of suspension.
When the CSK captain walked onto the field, it escalated an argument which ultimately held up the game for several minutes at a key juncture. As entertaining as it might have been to watch the drama unfold, a pause of this length with just three balls remaining in the game is not something that many people would be overly keen to see on a regular basis, particularly when the decision has already been made. Umpire's don't change their minds, and the argument was futile from the moment it started. It was based on emotion rather than logic, and represented an extremely rare moment when the normally infallible MS Dhoni proved human.
The man has made a name for himself as one of the most cool, calm and collected players in the world over so many years for a reason, and this does little to damage that. It was simply a rare moment which saw him lose his head, and one which has cost him a handsome sum of money. It's unlikely that we'll see anything similar happen again, and if Dhoni has taught us anything over his long career, it's that any adversity is only likely to motivate him. Maybe get on the over for his total match runs for CSK's next game.