The fourth T20I between Malta and Belgium in Marsa has ended in controversy today, with Malta declared victors after they were awarded five retrospective penalty runs to overcome their opponents.
Telecasting the series via online streaming, the European Cricket Network posted the news of the result to Twitter, while reports of a breach of the code of conduct by a Belgian player surfaced elsewhere. It was later reported that the alleged player, Belgium’s Shaheryar Butt, had been found guilty of abusing and threatening a match official, a level four disciplinary offence.
Malta had been bowled out for 125 two balls into the final over, and three runs short of Belgium’s 128 in the first innings. Saber Zakhil trapped Malta’s Ashok Bishnoi in front to take the final wicket, and the Belgians celebrated the final wicket rapturously, unaware of what was to unfold. Minutes later, Malta were declared victorious by Penalty runs, in an application of MCC law 16.7.
Match officials convened before the last over of the match, with Malta seemingly needing five runs to win with one wicket in hand. Field umpires and the Belgian side convened, though no gestures on the ground nor word from broadcasters suggested penalty runs had been discussed during the meeting on the field.
Butt was adjudged LBW in the first innings of the match, falling to paceman Washeem Abbas, though the Belgium number five batsman showed no dissent after he was given out, instead slouched forlornly in disappointment. It’s unclear whether his indiscretion was during the innings break, or in the field as the Belgians set about defending the total.
According to the European Cricket Network, the hearing into the incident could not be completed until after the match’s conclusion. It’s understood the International Cricket Council will investigate the incident further.
Emerging Cricket will provide more information as it comes to hand.
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