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Indian Premier League 2021

Sensational Hardik Pandya catch controversially ruled out by TV umpire

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Shikhar Dhawan made the most of a controversial first-over reprieve in Delhi Capitals’ IPL 2021 clash against Mumbai Indians, with Hardik Pandya claiming a catch only for the TV umpire to rule ‘not out’.

Defending 137, Mumbai Indians needed plenty to go their way but were handed an early setback, with Trent Boult denied a valuable new-ball wicket. Dhawan attempted to flick into the leg-side only to get a leading edge, with Pandya celebrating after taking a special grab diving forwards.

However, on-field umpires Chris Gaffney and Chettithody Shamshuddin weren’t convinced the catch had been taken clearly, and decided to refer the decision upstairs. After an agonising wait, TV umpire Ulhas Gandhe gave Dhawan not out, and he went on to make 45, the highest score of the game, to anchor Delhi Capitals’ chase.

The incident was notable with no soft signal indicated by the on-field officials, in line with the playing conditions for this competition. These differ to those used for international cricket, with a catch claimed by Dawid Malan controversially given out during England’s tour of India after a corresponding soft signal from the umpire. Given Pandya’s celebration, it may well be that the on-field umpires could have been convinced to adjudge Dhawan ‘out’ were the soft signal protocol in place.

Still, there was split opinion over which way the decision should have gone. Some speculated whether the camera angle available made the catch seem like it had been grassed when it hadn’t, while others felt it was right the benefit of the doubt should go to the batsman.

No official footage is available of the incident, but the images below give an indication of the grainy nature of the evidence used to come to the decision, as well as showing the fine margins at play.


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