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Ireland vs South Africa

‘Surely the ball’s dead?’ – No-ball call triggers debate after controversial Rabada run out

by Rohit Sankar 2 minute read

Ireland’s moment of glory, their first-ever win over South Africa, was effectively confirmed long before this bizarre moment unfolded in the second ODI between the sides in Dublin.

The sequence of events that led up to Kagiso Rabada’s dismissal after he exhibited some flair with the bat is important in understanding the confusion that reigned.

Keshav Maharaj smashed a waist high full toss from Mark Adair down the throat of deep mid-wicket in the 47th over of the run-chase. With Maharaj having been caught out, as one would assume, Rabada just wandered around mid-pitch. Curtis Campher, who had caught the ball, threw it back to the wicketkeeper, Lorcan Tucker, who took off the bails at the keeper’s end even as Rabada was still loitering outside the crease.

Now, under normal circumstances, Maharaj would have walked off and Rabada would have continued to bat on, with the taking off the bails dismissed as a celebratory gesture. However, in this case, great awareness from Campher and Tucker played a part in the eventual dismissal of Rabada, not Maharaj.

As it was a full toss at a controversial height, a no ball was checked and as it turned out, Adair had indeed bowled the ball over waist height. Hence, it was a no-ball and Maharaj’s dismissal didn’t count. But, Rabada was run out at the keeper’s end and with the delivery being a no ball, the completed catch did not mean the ball was dead yet.

Campher and Tucker anticipated this could be the case given the height the ball was delivered in and showed remarkable awareness to run Rabada out.

But, the decision is still questionable. The no ball call did not come during play which meant that there was no way Rabada or Maharaj could have known the ball isn’t dead after the catch. As the delivery was later deemed a no-ball, the ball was still in play after the catch.

This is, however, controversial. According to law 31.7 in the MCC, if a batsman leaves the wicket “under a misapprehension” of being given out, the umpire can call it a dead ball.

“An umpire shall intervene if satisfied that a batsman, not having been given out, has left the wicket under a misapprehension of being out. The umpire intervening shall call and signal Dead ball to prevent any further action by the fielding side and shall recall the batsman.

A batsman may be recalled at any time up to the instant when the ball comes into play for the next delivery, unless it is the final wicket of the innings, in which case it should be up to the instant when the umpires leave the field.”

In this case, clearly Maharaj and Rabada thought the former was dismissed and did not show too much bother to get to the crease after the catch was taken.

There were a few reactions on social media, questioning why Rabada was dismissed given that he wasn’t aware of the no ball during play.

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