|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
Steven Smith’s boundary fielding had already provided one of the highlights of the tournament three days ago, but he topped that with an effort against Rajasthan Royals that was so extraordinary that it left even experts scrambling for the rulebook to check whether it was legal.
In the third over of the chase, Shane Watson muscled a delivery from Murali Kartik towards the long-on boundary, where Smith was stationed. He rushed across to try latch on to an overhead catch, but realised the momentum was going to take him across the rope. He lobbed the ball in the air, though not within the field of play; then, having crossed the boundary, he jumped and pushed the ball back over the rope before rushing back into the field of play to finally pouch it on the third attempt.
It was a moment that showcased incredible athleticism and an outstanding presence of mind, but Smith had nothing to show for his efforts as it was adjudged, according to the rules, as a six. The laws had been changed in October 2010 to deem an effort invalid if the fielder touches the ball after crossing the rope and before coming back into the field of play. That meant Smith’s second touch made the Watson shot a six.
Smith’s Warriors team-mate Angelo Mathews had first triggered a debate over the legality of these sorts of fielding during the 2009 World Twenty20 with a similarly breathtaking outfield effort.
If the old laws had stood, Watson would have been dismissed for 11, and in a game where every batsman except him struggled to find their touch, Smith’s catch could have had a big impact on the result of the game. Instead, Watson bludgeoned twice as many boundaries as the entire Warriors did to take Royals to a crushing victory.
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddarth Ravindran
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
|Comments have now been closed for this article