8 Instances when Cricket Matches were Stopped for Unusual Reasons

On the third day of the Boxing Day Test match between Australia and Pakistan in December 2023, the second session of the day experienced a delayed start.

The reason — the third umpire, Richard Illingworth, was stuck in the lift!

This might sound weird, but a few cricket matches have been interrupted due to strange circumstances, which you probably wouldn’t have heard of.

So, in this article, we’ll look back at 8 instances when cricket matches were stopped for unusual reasons.

1. Third Umpire Stuck in Lift | Australia vs Pakistan, 2023

We’ll start with the most recent incident. The play was set to resume on time after the lunch break, but the on-field umpires couldn’t give the go-ahead. 

For the game to resume, the third umpire had to be in place, but Richard Illingworth found himself stuck inside the lift while returning from the dining hall.

This resulted in a delayed start, and everyone had a laugh about it when they got to know what happened with the third umpire. Once Illingworth was back in his place, the game resumed with the approval of the on-field umpire.

Also Read | Decoding the Duties of Umpires in Cricket

2. Luggage Delay | West Indies vs India, 2022

How does it feel to reach the ground without the kit? Sounds weird, right?

Something similar happened in 2022 during the second T20I match between the West Indies and India in St. Kitts. Due to some logistical reasons, the Indian team’s luggage arrived late from Trinidad to St. Kitts.

This resulted in the match starting after a 3-hour delay, with the start of play shifted from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

3. Car on the Ground | Delhi vs Uttar Pradesh, 2017

In a shocking incident during a Ranji Trophy match between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, a car entered the ground while the match was going on. This put the lives of players and match officials at stake, along with the fear of the car driver causing potential damage to the pitch.

Due to the lack of security at the ground’s gate, a car managed to invade the ground. The driver kept driving the car, taking a couple of laps on the ground.

This caused the game to be paused for a while as the match referee determined if there was any damage to the pitch. Once the referee gave a green signal, the match resumed immediately.

Also Read | Decoding the Role of a Match Referee in Cricket

4. Too Harsh Sunlight | New Zealand vs India, 2019

You must have seen rain or bad light stopping the game, and bad weather impacting cricket matches is not new. But an ODI match between New Zealand and India witnessed a rare interruption thanks to the bright setting sun.

What? Yes, this instance happened in Napier, where rays of the setting sun were directly coming onto the batter’s eyes. This natural interruption proved to be challenging for the batters, prompting the umpires to halt the match until the condition improved.

5. Fog Stops Play | India vs New Zealand, 2023

India and New Zealand found themselves in another interrupted match, but this time in Dharamsala, India. It was a group-stage encounter between these 2 teams in the 2023 World Cup, and the match came to a halt during India’s chase.

In an unusual instance, fog covered the picturesque Dharamsala stadium, reducing visibility for the play to continue. As it was difficult to see anything, the umpires paused the game until the fog cleared and visibility improved.

6. Bees Invade the Ground | South Africa vs Sri Lanka, 2017

We have seen cricket fans invading the ground, but in 2017, honeybees made their way into the stadium. The bees swarmed the ground during an ODI match between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Johannesburg.

The ground staff and players tried different tricks to move away the bees, but the swarm didn’t budge. Finally, an expert beekeeper was called in to capture the bees, helping the game start after an hour’s interruption.

7. Sandstorm | India vs Australia, 1998

The fans at Sharjah Cricket Stadium witnessed 2 storms in a short span. One was a sandstorm, while the other storm came from Sachin Tendulkar’s bat.

Speaking of the first one, an ODI match between India and Australia in the Coca-Cola Cup came to a brief halt owing to a sandstorm. This stoppage resulted in 4 overs being lost from India’s chase and the target getting revised to 276 to win or reach 237 in 46 overs to qualify for the final.

After the storm settled and the action resumed, Sachin Tendulkar’s bat did the talking, hammering 143 off 131 balls. India, though, couldn’t win the match, but they qualified for the final.

You can read more about Sachin’s Desert Storm innings by clicking the link below.

Also Read | The Ten Greatest ODI Innings in a Losing Cause

8. Burnt Toast Sends Everyone in Panic | Queensland vs New South Wales, 2017

We have seen fans completely engrossed during a match, and players are also no exception. In a bizarre incident, a burnt toast sent a panic wave among the players, match officials, and spectators present on the ground.

During the 2017 Sheffield Shield match between Queensland and New South Wales, Nathan Lyon wanted to eat something, so he put toast into the toaster. However, he got carried away while watching the chase of his team, New South Wales, forgetting that he had put toast in the toaster. 

Later, the smoke from the burnt toast triggered the fire alarms, prompting the umpires to clear the area. A Fire Brigade team reached the ground immediately, and once they gave thumbs up, the match resumed after 30 minutes, with New South Wales winning the match.

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