World Cup umpire almost has head knocked off before match is halted by fog

A Cricket World Cup umpire showed brilliant reactions to avoid being smashed by a speeding ball – before the match was halted by fog.

Hosts India took on 2019 runners-up New Zealand in Dharamshala on Sunday. With both sides taking 100% records into the match, it promised to be an engrossing affair.

But it was almost a little too dramatic for umpire Adrian Holdstock, who was nearly struck by a powerful straight drive from Black Caps centurion Daryl Mitchell. Thankfully, the South African umpire, 53, displayed outstanding reflexes to dive out of the way of the shot.

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There was then a remarkable piece of fielding as the ball hurtled towards the boundary with Indian fielder Shreyas Iyer brilliantly cutting the ball off. New Zealand went on to set India 274 to win after being bowled out for 273 in exactly 50 overs.

That wasn’t the end of the drama though as the match was halted during India’s reply when thick fog engulfed the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium. With visibility severely limited, the players were taken off. The eerie scenes prompted one fan to joke: “It’s The Undertaker's entry [music].”

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The mist eventually cleared sufficiently for the match to resume with India winning by four wickets with two overs to spare. Both sides are well-placed to finish in the top four of the 10-team league stage and make the semi-finals.

The same can’t be said for holders England, who are holding an inquest after crashing to their third defeat in four games at the hands of South Africa, who triumphed by a massive 229 runs after posting 399. It was England’s heaviest-ever ODI defeat by run margin.

Captain Jos Buttler admitted electing to field after winning the toss backfired. He said: “With hindsight, with the physicality of that innings, potentially batting first would have been a better decision. It’s a decision I took at the time.

“I thought it was the right one and I still believe if we were chasing 340, 350, we would have done really well in those conditions.”

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