Guwahati: There is no doubt that Indo-Pak rivalry garners most attention across the cricketing world. However, another rivalry, between Southeast Asian neighbours India and Bangladesh, often goes unnoticed, and each time both sides face off (understandably the men-in-blue hold the upper hand), there is no dearth of controversies, with fans and players engaging in fierce contests alike.

In 2015, half-shaved heads of Indian players depicting their struggles against Mustafizur Rahman’s cutters grabbed headlines in a leading Bangladeshi daily before a photoshopped image showing Bangladeshi fast bowler Taskin Ahmed carrying the severed head of former India captain MS Dhoni ignited the rivalry in 2016.

Litton Das

On the field, India have more often than not dominated the mouth-watering contests between the two sides, but on most occasions, Bangladeshi players have returned with excuses after losing to their western neighbours.

And the latest addition to the list of excuses is “fake fielding”, which according to Bangladeshi batter Nurul Hasan, robbed them a chance to finish over the line in the T20 World Cup game at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.

Pointing fingers at former India captain Virat Kohli, Nurul said the on-field umpires Marais Erasmus and Chris Brown missed an incident of ‘fake fielding’ from the Indian in the seventh over of his side’s chase.

“We all saw that it was a wet ground. Eventually, when we talk about these things, there was also a fake throw. It could have been a five-run penalty. That also could have gone our way, but unfortunately, even that didn’t materialise,” Nurul told reporters after the match.

Nurul’s comments came after Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan said, “we should not make rain as an excuse” while accepting his side’s failure to breach the revised target of 151.

“Unfortunately, rain interrupted but I am happy the way both the teams played really well, we were so close like 2016 World Cup but wasn’t close enough. It was a little slippery, that suits the batting side rather than the bowling side and we should not make that an excuse,” said the Bangladeshi skipper in the post-match presser.

Coming back to Nurul’s accusations, the incident took place in the seventh over of Bangladesh’s chase when Kohli, posted at point, feigned a shy at the non-strikers’ end when Litton Das and Najmul Hossain Shanto scampered back to complete their second run. The ball was actually fielded and thrown by Arshdeep Singh from the deep.

At the time, it went unnoticed in the field, as the umpires did not take any action and the batters involved neither cared to point it out.

According to ICC rules, Law 41.5 pertaining to unfair play, prohibits the “deliberate distraction, deception or obstruction of the batter” and if an incident is deemed to be a breach, the umpire can award the batting side with five runs after declaring the particular delivery as dead ball.

Here, Nurul’s accusation holds little ground as it missed the “distraction and deception” part of the law, since both Litton and Najmul weren’t looking at Kohli.

Instead, Nurul could find himself at the receiving end of a sanction for criticising match officials.

Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) cricket operations chairman Jalal Yunus said it had been brought to the umpires’ attention. “The fake throw was brought to the umpire’s notice but he said he didn’t see it. That’s why it wasn’t taken to review,” Yunus was quoted as saying.

While it is up to the match referee to decide on Nurul’s accusation and fate, there was another incident during India’s innings, which triggered an animated chat between Kohli and Shakib before eventually both hugging it out after sharing a laugh.

The incident occurred during the 16th over when Bangladesh bowler Hasan Mahmud bowled a short ball and umpire Marais Erasmus gave it a no ball. Kohli, meanwhile, was gesturing for a no as soon as it was bowled, which led Shakib to rush to Virat for a conversation.

Later in the game, Bangladesh squandered a promising 68-run start, losing six wickets for 40 runs after the rain-break, which derailed their chase. While Nurul played a lone hand with an unbeaten 14-ball 25, the side eventually fell short by five runs.

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