Delhi v Chennai, IPL 2013, Delhi April 18, 2013

The obstruction that wasn't

Plays of the day from the IPL game between Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings in Delhi

The query
In the 14th over of the Chennai Super Kings innings, MS Dhoni set off towards the striker's end for a tight single to mid-on. He ran, nay hared, between the fielder and the stumps, which meant David Warner had to go around him with the throw. There was no way Warner could have hit the stumps direct, and out of frustration he semi-appealed for an obstructing-the-field decision, which has become easier to win with the recent change in playing conditions. However, Dhoni had neither looked back at the fielder nor changed his direction while running so there was no way they were even going to watch the replay. In a previous match, Warner had appealed for a catch - in jest - when he plucked the ball from a batsman's helmet, but this one wasn't as lighthearted.

The call
Just after the Powerplay, Delhi Daredevils were trying to cramp the left-hand batsmen by bowling straight, when Ajit Agarkar missed Suresh Raina's leg stump by inches. Modern-day umpires call those wides without batting an eyelid, nor is an eyelid batted at these decisions. Marais Erasmus, though, didn't. And when the batsman looked at him quizzically, Erasmus showed him with a finger-thumb gesture how close the ball had been to leg stump.

The running
It seemed, when in the third over Virender Sehwag ran a second, he might have been irresponsible because he tried to neither dive nor slide the bat in as the throw came in. However, in this case Sehwag was canny enough to see Dhoni hadn't made his way up to the stumps and he also would have judged the throw was wide.

The call, part II
Two overs later, Chris Morris got one to jump disconcertingly at Mahela Jayawardene and it passed the bat shoulder high. Whether it did kiss the bat on the way through could not be established with limited technology in use, but the body language of payers in the middle suggested Jayawardene was out. For starters he looked back immediately, and Dhoni had an incredulous look on his face when umpire Vineet Kulkarni's finger didn't go up.

You can't say for sure if this had an effect on Kulkarni's psyche because two balls later he gave a shocker against Jayawardene, with the ball headed clearly down leg. And it was a quick decision too; the bowler had barely turned back to appeal when he saw the raised finger. Was Kulkarni compensating for the previous call? We will never know. What we know is that Simon Taufel, a fellow umpire, on air, said, "This is hard to defend."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • des on April 19, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    @ Remus16: It was not Erasmus but Kulkarni who gave Mahela out. Look at the highlights again.

  • Sai on April 19, 2013, 3:46 GMT

    for your notice guyz.. the umpire was not VINEET KULKARNI.. It was MARAIS ERASMUS who gave the shocker. And he pretended to do somethin like scratching his nose..

  • TR on April 18, 2013, 21:07 GMT

    I think people want to be polite (including the commentators) only with respect to specific international players. I definitely hear a clear but faint sound when the ball passes the bat in Jayawardane caught behind. I watched the replay quite a few times and there IS sound. But umpire may not have heard that - thats a different story.

  • Ashok on April 18, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    Worst decision of the day was Kulkarni giving Jayawarden LBW without any hesitation! There is no excuse for it even if he was trying to compensate for a CBW appeal made 2 balls earlier. The second point where DD lost control of the game was giving 80 runs in last 7 overs, which included a dropped catch off Dhoni & a missed LBW of Hussey. The third worst play was a rank cross bat shot by Warner in a most irresponsible manner. It defies common sense & sums up the reason why DD is at 0-6!From Heroes of lost year to Zeros of this year. Talent without responsibility is a wasted talent.

  • des on April 18, 2013, 20:00 GMT

    There was more chance of Ranatunga diving than Sehwag diving.

  • murali on April 18, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    well u want sehwag to dive that is the last thing to do in field for him i only saw him diving for single only once that was on his way to 219 vs wi in odi

  • suresh kumar on April 18, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    csk suffer twice including this one, earlier vijay was given out which is clearly missing leg. Had jayawardane walked out as like what mandeep singh did last night and raina today, the lbw situation would have been avoided. Eventhough it is hard to defend, I donot think that lbw decision was compensation to previous appeal and at the end of the day umpire errors are parcel of the game.

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