Leicestershire kept their T20 Blast quarter-final hopes alive with a penultimate-ball win over Nottinghamshire, helped along by a controversial five-run penalty handed down to Notts for fake fielding.
The incident in question occurred in the first over of the chase. Foxes opener Nick Welch played Imad Wasim into the leg-side, and Steven Mullaney was adjudged to have simulated an attempt to slide for the ball.
Law 41.5.1 states that “it is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt, by word or action, to distract, deceive or obstruct either batsman after the striker has received the ball.” If the umpires deem an attempt to deceive has taken place, they inform both captains and award five penalty runs to the batting side. That ball will then not count as one of the over.
After conferring with square leg official Paul Pollard, umpire Nick Cook signalled five penalty runs to the scorers, but that wasn’t the end of the confusion. The live stream commentators initially thought a no-ball had been awarded for having too many fielders outside the ring, and Cook had to take his rule book out of pocket to show Outlaws captain Dan Christian exactly which aspect of the laws his side had transgressed.
The extra runs ended up proving crucial, with Leicestershire knocking six runs off the final over in nervy fashion to seal a four-wicket victory which just about keeps them in the hunt for the title. They go into the final round on nine points, tied for third with Durham in the North Group. Somerset, Northants, and Warwickshire are all tied for second on nine points in the Central Group, while Sussex are third in the South Group with 11 points. The top two teams in each group go through, as do the two best third-placed teams.
There was more penalty run drama in the T20 Blast game between Lancashire and Durham, with Lancs penalised for Liam Livingstone “using language…to another player…that, in the circumstances, is obscene or of a seriously insulting nature” after his dismissal by Paul Coughlin. With Lancs bowled out for 88 in pursuit of 158, that mattered little.