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Watch: Michael Neser parries ball up from way outside boundary, completes catch in Laws of Cricket puzzler

Michael Neser catches Jordan Silk in BBL 2022/23
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: In a Big Bash League 2022/23 match at the Gabba, Michael Neser of Brisbane Heat took an incredible catch to dismiss Jordan Silk of Sydney Sixers.

Set to chase 225, the Sixers had been reduced to 113-5 in the 11th over, but Silk (41 in 23 balls) and Hayden Kerr (27 in 15) kept them in the hunt. Heat took out Kerr and Ben Dwarshuis, but Silk kept the onslaught going. With three wickets in hand, the Sixers needed 26 in 17 balls when Mark Steketee came to bowl at Silk.

Hit for a six over square-leg the previous ball, Steketee switched to round the wicket and altered his line to some distance outside the off-stump. Silk went down on his back knee and lofted the ball over extra-cover, towards Neser on the ropes.

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Neser ran a few steps backwards to complete the catch, but realised that his momentum would take him across the boundary rope. He flicked the ball in the air and ran across the line – only to realise that the ball had been following him.

Most fielders would have been happy to leap into the air to intercept the trajectory of the ball and flick it back into play, but Neser went a step ahead. Not only did he time his jump beautifully but he perfected the lob. The ball lobbed back into the playing area at a pace gentle enough for Neser to follow it and complete the catch.

Neser looked unsure, and Silk waited to be given out, but umpires Donovan Koch and Nathan Johnstone were correct in their decision. It was a fair catch under Law 33.2.1: “A catch will be fair only if, in every case either the ball, at any time or any fielder in contact with the ball, is not grounded beyond the boundary before the catch is completed. Note Laws 19.4 (Ball grounded beyond the boundary) and 19.5 (Fielder grounded beyond the boundary.”

The relevant reference to Law 19.5 validates the umpires’ call: “A fielder who is not in contact with the ground is considered to be grounded beyond the boundary if his/her final contact with the ground, before his/her first contact with the ball after it has been delivered by the bowler, was not entirely within the boundary.” Since Neser’s first contact with the ball came while he was within the field of play, it did not matter that subsequent touches came with him having jumped from outside of the field of play.

However, several questioned whether the Law should be changed.

The Sixers were eventually bowled out for 209. Brisbane Heat won by 15 runs.

Neser explained after the game that he knew about the Law that would allow him to complete such a catch, but was unsure if it had been changed.

“I knew [Matt] Renshaw did it a couple of years ago,” he said, referring to a similar incident in 2020. “I didn’t know if they’d changed the rules, but I thought I’d give it a crack, and thankfully they didn’t change the rule.”

Watch Michael Neser’s catch here:

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