Sport / Cricket

Sport Staff
2 minute read
26 Jan 2017
12:35 pm

Were the Proteas robbed a vital wicket in the deciding T20?

Sport Staff

Asela Gunaratne absent-mindedly pulled out one of the stumps before Sri Lanka actually won at Newlands. Was there more to it?

Asela Gunaratne celebrates Sri Lanka's historic win. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images.

It’s a moot point whether it would’ve made a difference but were the Proteas robbed of a vital wicket in Wednesday’s deciding T20 at Newlands?

In a bizarre moment of miscalculation, Sri Lankan all-rounder Asela Gunaratne thought his side had already won when he edged Dane Paterson for four.

Also read: Comical Proteas fielding sours AB de Villiers’ return

As celebration, he immediately pulled out one of the stumps before he had to be told the scores were merely level.

The umpires politely put the stumps back and play continued.

Farhaan Behardien, South Africa’s captain, looked visibly annoyed in questioning the legality of Gunaratne’s rather goofy act.

What might’ve Behardien argued?

It’s possible South Africa might’ve felt Gunaratne had, in a freakish way, hit his own wicket.

If Gunaratne had grabbed the stump before the ball had actually crossed the boundary, the ball would actually still be in play.

South Africa could’ve argued Gunaratne committed the same blunder as batsman cutting or pulling the ball for four before treading on his stumps.

Was Gunaratne out?

Rudi Koertzen, one of South Africa’s former elite umpires, has bad news for the Proteas.

“Firstly, we don’t know if Gunaratne actually pulled out the stump before or after the ball crossed the boundary rope,” he said.

“The umpires would’ve had to call on the third umpire to examine a few replays from the relevant angles.”

Then there’s the problem of the cricketing laws.

“The law states a batsman can only be given out hit wicket in the process of receiving or hitting the ball,” said Koertzen.

“That means if a batter has already played the shot and the ball is past the fielder, he can break his stumps without worrying. Because that doesn’t count as receiving or hitting the ball anymore.

“Given the information the umpires had, Gunaratne wasn’t out.”

So he couldn’t even be theoretically out?

“That would take a brave umpire,” chuckled Koertzen.

“It’s dodgy to argue Gunaratne was still ‘hitting the ball’ when it flew past the keeper. The umpires made the correct decision, I would’ve done the same.”

What could’ve happened if the Proteas had taken that wicket?

Well, it would’ve meant Sri Lanka required five runs from one delivery with a new batsman at the crease.

But did they really deserve it?

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