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Zimbabwe v Bangladesh 2022

Litton Das run out after fielder drops catch while celebrating, but should ‘misapprehension’ Law have saved him?

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 3 minute read

Litton Das was run out in strange circumstances in the first Zimbabwe-Bangladesh T20I, with the batter caught napping while seemingly walking off the field in the erroneous belief he had been out caught.

Zimbabwe fielder Richard Ngarava dropped a catching chance just as he was about to celebrate, with Das then caught stranded between the wickets.

The moment came in the seventh over of Bangladesh’s chase, with the hosts having set 206 to win. Das was well set at the time, having made his way to 32 off 18 before attempting to ramp Sean Williams.

The in-form Bangladesh batter only managed to find short fine leg with the attempt at innovation, with Ngarava taking the catch. However, just as he was about to celebrate, the ball slipped from his grasp, in a manner reminiscent of Herschelle Gibbs’ famous drop of Steve Waugh during the 1999 Cricket World Cup.

However, Ngarava retained his composure and, spotting Das dawdling on his way to the non-striker’s end, threw the ball to Williams, who hesitated before removing the bails. The on-field umpires referred the decision upstairs, offering a soft signal of ‘not out’ in relation to the catch, and Das was adjudged ‘run out’.

Law 33.3 in the MCC’s Laws of Cricket explains why Das wasn’t out caught: “The act of making a catch shall start from the time when the ball first comes into contact with a fielder’s person and shall end when a fielder obtains complete control over both the ball and his/her own movement.” Ngarava was judged not to have obtained complete control over both the ball and his own movement; presumably, had he done so, his attempted celebratory throw would have been more successful.

However, there is a wrinkle with regards to Das’ departure from the crease, with the on-air commentators making clear that, in their view, Das believed he was out caught, and, with his back turned to Ngarava after he initially grabbed hold of the ball, did not realise that there had been an error before the catch had been completed.

Law 31.7 states that a batter can be recalled after leaving the crease due to a “misapprehension”. “An umpire shall intervene if satisfied that a batter, 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 batter,” it states.

There are similarities to an incident in English club cricket which took place earlier in the 2022 summer, sparking debate over the legality of a run out dismissal following a dropped catch. In that instance, the MCC themselves clarified that the eventual decision to judge the batter out was the correct one, despite the misapprehension.

“If the batter is leaving his wicket under a misapprehension of being out, the ball remains live until an umpire calls Dead ball,” the organisation tweeted. “It doesn’t become dead just because he left the wicket.”

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