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

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