18+ | Please play responsibly | Terms and Conditions apply | Commercial Content

CPL 2023: Red Card Introduced in Cricket

Referee handing out a red card.
For the very first time, we saw a referee hand out a red card in a cricket game this Sunday in the CPL. (Copyright: Imago/Syda Productions)

The umpires in the Caribbean Premier League 2023 awarded cricket’s first ever red card on Sunday (27 August 2023) in Basseterre.

It happened in a match between Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) and Saint Kitts and Nevis Patriots (SKNP).  At the start of the 18th, 19th and 20th overs, TKR found themselves behind the required rate of overs.

The umpires awarded TKR the red card. Consequently, when they bowled their last over, TKR were left with only 10 men on the field. After Sunil Narine left the field, his team was allowed to have only two fielders beyond the 30-yard circle.

New Rules apply from 18th Over of T20 Game

The CPL’s new rules will begin to apply when a team is behind the over rate at the start of the 18th over. Consequently, the team would need to bring an additional fielder inside the 30-yard circle. Thus, the fielding side can only have four fielders outside the circle. If the team is behind the over rate at the beginning of the 19th, another fielder must come within the circle, with only three outside it. If the team continues to be behind the over rate at the start of the final over, a player will be sent out. Also, the fielding team cannot have more than two players beyond the circle. TKR were found guilty of all three offences.

Fielding Team Captain decides which Player must leave

After his team was reduced to 10 players at the start of the 20th, Dwayne Bravo gave away 18 runs in the final over. However, when TKR batted, skipper Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, and Andre Russell made light of a target of 179. They helped the team to the target with 17 balls to spare. In the words of Pollard, the new penalty rules are “a little ridiculous.”

On-field official Zahid Bassarath whipped out the red card before the final over was bowled by Knight Riders. Sunil Narine had completed his quota of overs with figures of 2/24. He was asked by Pollard to leave the field. The 2023 CPL competition has introduced red cards in both women’s and men’s competitions to punish slow over rates.

Rule Introduced to curtail Time Wasting

According to a statement by Michael Hill, the tournament operations director, the organisers were disappointed to see T20 games in the tournament getting longer and longer every year. So, they decided to introduce the new rule to remedy the situation.

Penalty brings More Players inside Circle

If the bowling team is behind the required rate of overs before commencing the 18th over, they must have five players within the circle. If they continue to remain behind the required over rate before the start of the 19th, they must bring a sixth player inside the circle. If the fielding team trails the required over rate before the commencement of the last over, a player must leave the field. While keeping six players inside the circle, the team captain can decide which player will leave. If the batting team is found guilty of wasting time, umpires will issue a solitary warning. Thereafter, every instance of time-wasting will attract a five-run penalty.

Innings must end in 85 Minutes

The rule is based on an assumption that each innings of a T20 game will last 85 minutes. Accordingly, the 17th over of an innings must end when 72 minutes and 15 seconds have elapsed. The 18th must end after 76 minutes and 30 seconds of match time. Likewise, the 19th over must end after the innings has lasted 80 minutes and 45 seconds.

Over Rate Monitored by 3rd Umpire

The third umpire will monitor the over rate and communicate with the field umpires. In turn, the field umpires will inform the captains at the end of every over. The TV audience and the crowd at the stadium will also be informed. They will get to see graphics displaying how far ahead or behind the required over rate the fielding team has got, ahead of over 18. Wherever appropriate, the third umpire will factor DRS, injury time, and time-wasting by the batters.


Over rate penalties have been around for some time. In an era of gamesmanship, we can only see the rules getting more stringent. The organisers of the CPL have taken things up a notch. All new rules have a transition period before they are accepted. Penalised teams are more than likely to protest as such penalties could cost them a match or more. Whether the new red card rule is here to stay will depend on its fair application by match officials.