When you’re getting smashed all over the park, the least you can do is accept defeat with grace and dignity but well, in the BBL 10 qualifier today, AJ Tye had other ideas. With James Vince 2 shy of a ton with 1 run required, Tye delivered a deliberate wide to become the country’s most hated man.
10 and a half years ago, world cricket was witness to one of the most unsportsman-like incidents on the field. Needing 1 run to chase down Sri Lanka’s target, Virender Sehwag, batting on 99*, thought he’d brought up three figures when he smashed off-spinner Suraj Randiv to the boundary, only to find out moments later that the bowler had deliberately overstepped to deny him a hundred. The incident left a bitter taste on everyone who was witness to that moment of controversy, to the extent that Randiv’s reputation was tarnished by that one unsportsmanlike act.
For a decade, world cricket was devoid of such below-the-belt hits from cricketers but on Saturday in Canberra, Perth Scorchers’ AJ Tye followed Randiv’s footsteps to instantaneously become the most-hated man in the country.
Chasing 168 in a knockout game is no easy task but England’s James Vince batted like a man possessed. He single-handedly took apart the Scorchers bowling – which prior to today was the best in the entire tournament – and struck boundaries for fun. He toyed with everyone, including the highest wicket-taker Jhye Richardson, smashed a ludicrous 15 boundaries and soon found himself on 98*, in the blink of an eye. By now the scores were level with three overs to spare and the right-hander needed to find a way to pinch a two or strike a boundary to get to his ton.
Vince’s eyes lit up when Andrew Tye steamed in to bowl the first ball of the 18th over, but in a fraction of seconds, the look of determination in the Englishman’s eyes turned into fury. Very well knowing that Vince was 2 runs shy off a well-deserved ton, Tye resorted to dirty tactics and deliberately bowled a wide that went a meter over the batsman’s head. As the umpire signalled wide, officially putting an end to the game, everyone in the stadium sensed what Tye had done and greeted the bowler with a loud chorus of boos. Vince couldn’t believe his eyes and stared at Tye for a long while in disbelief, before being consoled by his England teammate Jason Roy, who asked him to ‘let it pass’.
I wouldn’t log into Twitter today if I were Andrew Tye.