Islamabad United chased down Lahore Qalandars' 171 for 8 with enough to spare in their PSL 2019 opener, but they could well have had a slightly smaller target but for a rare occurrence during the Lahore innings - penalty runs for the ball hitting Luke Ronchi's discarded wicketkeeping glove.
It was off the fifth ball of the second over of the Lahore innings. Samit Patel, the English left-arm spinner, fired one into Sohail Akhtar's pads and it was flicked away. Two runs were taken. But there was a hold-up immediately after as umpires Richard Illingworth and Rashid Riaz conferred, and then announced five additional runs for Lahore.
All by the law. Ronchi, the Islamabad wicketkeeper, had discarded one of his gloves, and the ball, as it came back in from the deep square-leg region, hit the piece of equipment. Patel's bowling figures weren't affected, and Akhtar didn't get any extra runs, but Lahore were richer by five runs. Not just that, they got the two runs they had scored anyway and an extra delivery.
ALSO READ: All you need to know about PSL 2019
For an explanation, we need to turn to Law 28.2, which deals with 'Fielding the ball'.
The relevant part is in Law 22.214.171.124, which says that it's not legal if a fielder "discards a piece of clothing, equipment or any other object which subsequently makes contact with the ball". It isn't illegal, by the way, if the piece of equipment "has accidentally fallen from the fielder's person".
What happens next?
Law 28.2.3 states: If a fielder illegally fields the ball, the ball shall immediately become dead and
- the penalty for a no-ball or a wide shall stand
- any runs completed by the batsmen shall be credited to the batting side, together with the run in progress if the batsmen had already crossed at the instant of the offence
- the ball shall not count as one of the over
In addition, the umpire shall
- award five penalty runs to the batting side
- inform the other umpire and the captain of the fielding side of the reason for this action
- inform the batsmen and, as soon as practicable, the captain of the batting side of what has occurred
And that's what happened at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday.