New Zealand won the toss and opted to field first at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday, aiming to change their fortunes from the memorable final four years ago. In a departure from that game, Dawid Malan joined Jonny Bairstow as the opening pair in Ahmedabad.
However, the match took a familiar twist early on when Kumar Dharmasena found himself in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. In the second over of the game, Matt Henry bowled the first delivery with Malan advancing down the track.
There was a slight movement, and the ball struck Malan on the pads, leading to a vigorous appeal from the opposition. Nonetheless, umpire Kumar Dharmasena deemed the ball to be too high and signaled as such. In the age of the Decision Review System (DRS), umpires are not supposed to assist on-field players until the 15-second appeal timer expires.
Nevertheless, Tom Latham, the stand-in captain, chose to review the decision, ultimately confirming Dharmasena’s initial suspicion.
Twitter users were quick to comment on Dharmasena’s unusual act of kindness, suggesting that it might be his attempt to rectify the controversial decision in the 2019 final when he had erroneously awarded an extra run to the English team.