The second T20I of the three-match series saw India, sporting just five batters, put in to bat by Sri Lanka. India’s best over of the innings came in the 19th over which was bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga. However, five of those runs were lucky runs.
On the final ball of the penultimate over, Nitish Rana who was batting on 7 off 9 balls, changed his stance and was ready to execute a switch-hit. But Hasaranga slipped it wide outside off-stump for a right-hander. That prompted Rana to leave the ball and Sri Lanak’s wicket-keeper Minod Bhanuka didn’t collect it cleanly and the ball went off to the boundary.
To Hasaranga’s dismay, the umpire deemed it a wide and four runs (five wides). Now, calling wides while the batter attempts the reverse-sweep or the switch-hit becomes a talking point every time a similar event occurs.
While there is no specific rule for wides while the batters are attempting a reverse-sweep or a switch-hit, Law 36.3 which is a part of the LBW rule states the off-side for a batsman.
The wide law also defines that the striker has to be “standing in a normal guard position”.
MCC Laws that favour Hasaranga and his reaction
36.3 Off side of wicket
The off side of the striker’s wicket shall be determined by the striker’s stance at the moment the ball comes into play for that delivery.
22.1 Judging a Wide
22.1.1 If the bowler bowls a ball, not being a No ball, the umpire shall adjudge it a Wide if, according to the definition in 22.1.2, the ball passes wide of where the striker is standing and which also would have passed wide of the striker standing in a normal guard position.
22.1.2 The ball will be considered as passing wide of the striker unless it is sufficiently within reach for him/her to be able to hit it with the bat by means of a normal cricket stroke.
22.4 Delivery not a Wide
22.4.1 The umpire shall not adjudge a delivery as being a Wide, if the striker, by moving, either causes the ball to pass wide of him/her, as defined in 22.1.2 or brings the ball sufficiently within reach to be able to hit it by means of a normal cricket stroke.
22.4.2 The umpire shall not adjudge a delivery as being a Wide if the ball touches the striker’s bat or person, but only as the ball passes the striker.
This law defines the off- and leg-side of the batter and it basically translates into the off or leg-side for a batter is decided by his/her point of contact while facing the ball. In Rana’s case, the ball was clearly on Rana’s off-side and the umpire got it wrong. It should’ve been four byes and not five wides. As such, it was no surprise that Hasaranga was annoyed with the decision as India got an extra run (as it would’ve been four byes) and an additional delivery.
Those five wides pushed India’s score over 130 and Hasaranga became Sri Lanka’s most expensive bowler as he ended up conceding a total of 30 runs in his four overs.