Melbourne Stars batsman Marcus Stoinis inadvertently caused a major drama in the BBL on Saturday night, with the Adelaide Strikers appealing in the field that he had taken too long to arrive at his crease. Batters are on a strict 75 second timer to come out at the fall of a wicket, lest they are required to give the bowler a free shot at the stumps.
Stoinis proved to be the eventual matchwinner for the the struggling Stars, providing a vintage knock of 74 runs from just 35 deliveries. The eight-run victory was just the Stars' second of the season, and comes after Stoinis was criticised by former Australian star Brad Hogg for missing crucial fixtures.
According to BBL rules, a batter must be ready to face the next ball within 75 seconds the previous wicket falling, in order to keep the game moving quickly. Stoinis had arrived at his crease, but stood aside from the wicket for several moments to look at the field.
He believed he wasn't required to face up until the field was set, later saying he wouldn't appeal if he was in the Strikers' position. Adelaide did appeal in the field but it wasn't accepted by the umpire, despite Strikers batter Adam Hose being confident he had exceeded the time limit.
“He’s a top-class player, but to be honest I was at cover for his first ball and I’m pretty certain he timed out,” Hose said. "75 seconds and he wasn’t ready. So, there was a bit of confusion there with the umpires.
“We were all appealing … I’m not quite sure what happened there. I’m pretty certain his time was up.
“The umpires have been pretty hot on me for the last couple of games with getting to the crease. He’d faced his first ball by the time we managed to get around the umpire and ask the question, but I just hope that if it is the rule that we can play by it.”
Marcus Stoinis defends Stars against time out appeals
Stoinis was aware of the ticking clock but rejected Hose's claim, insisting Adelaide's field was not set in time. "I checked centre (guard), then I was standing off because I could see the field moving," he said. "I actually didn't know that I had to stand there regardless."
Stoinis was also critical of the Strikers' appeal for a timed out call against Hilton Cartwright in the 14th over. "The same thing happened with Hilts," he said. "They (Strikers) appealed for that but the field was moving so it ended up being a dead ball.
"I wouldn't appeal (for that). The rule is in place if someone is trying to take advantage and slow the game down."
Stoinis crunched 74 off 35 deliveries, including six sixes, to steer the Stars to 7-186 in Saturday's marquee Adelaide Oval New Year's Eve fixture in front of 40,373 fans before the Strikers replied with 5-178. Hose (56no) struck his maiden BBL half-century while Rashid Khan (24no) produced a thrilling late cameo.
With 33 required from the last two overs, Rashid helicoptered Stoinis for six, then squirted a four past third man to leave 17 needed off the 20th over. The Stars' slow over rate meant they had to have an extra fielder inside the circle for the final six balls but Luke Wood was up to the challenge.
Stoinis smashed 24 off one Peter Siddle over before going off for 6, 6, 6, 4 and 6 off successive balls from Golden Arm leader Henry Thornton, who conceded 29 in the 18th over. Openers Joe Clarke (42) and Tom Rogers (30) set the platform which allowed Stoinis to tee off.
"I was not happy with the way I've started (the tournament), trying to do too much, too soon," Stoinis reflected. "Sometimes you need to have a good hard look at yourself and go back to the processes that you know work. I thought the wicket was really good and was going to get even better under lights and we bowled really well."
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.