An incident near the close of Tuesday (October 4) night’s IPL 2021 fixture between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Capitals (DC) sparked debates. The incident involved Dwayne Bravo and a wide ball that the CSK speedster delivered well outside off against DC left-hander Shimron Hetmyer.
With DC needing 4 more runs off the remaining five deliveries for a victory, Bravo had an attempted slow delivery against Hetmyer slipping horribly out of his hands. The ball then landed not just shy of the wide line marked outside the left-hander’s off-stump but also behind the line marked sideways to the stumps (behind the pitch).
The on-field umpire called it a wide – which the TV umpire also verified – and two more runs were added to the DC total without a ball being counted as Hetmyer and his batting partner Axar Patel changed strike.
But the umpire’s call didn’t go down well with DC head coach Ricky Ponting, who was seen having an animated chat with the fourth umpire, presumably asking why a no-ball hasn’t been called with his team awarded a free-hit?
Even commentators Sunil Gavaskar, Simon Doull and Scott Styris were adamant that there should’ve been a no-ball declared by third umpire since the ball landed on the side of the pitch. There was an extended discussion between Gavaskar and Doull on air, as the two gents agreed that it should’ve been a no-ball.
But the umpire’s call of wide on Dwayne Bravo’s delivery was spot on
Why? Because that is what the rules say. While both Gavaskar and Doull talked extensively on why it should’ve been a no-ball call with a free-hit awarded to DC, the ICC adopted laws state completely on the contrary.
According to law 21.7 pertaining to instances of a ball bouncing more than once, rolling along the ground or pitching off the pitch:
(a) – The umpire shall call and signal No ball if a ball which he/she considers it to have been delivered, without having previously touched bat or person of the striker,
(b) – bounces more than once or rolls along the ground before it reaches the popping crease
(c) – pitches wholly or partially off the pitch as defined in Law 6.1 (Area of pitch) before it reaches the line of the striker’s wicket. When a non-turf pitch is being used, this will apply to any ball that wholly or partially pitches off the artificial surface.
The point (c) is relevant to the case here, as it states that a no-ball will be called if the ball “pitches wholly or partially off the pitch before it reaches the line of the striker’s wicket”.
Now, since Dwayne Bravo’s delivery had not landed “before it reaches the line of the striker’s wicket”, it couldn’t have been called a no-ball like normally balls that fall on the side of the pitch are.
With that clear, it was an excellent decision on the on-field umpire’s part to call it a ‘wide’ and the TV umpire was perfectly wise in reiterating that decision.