ICC World Twenty20 2009 June 11, 2009

Mathews' fielding effort legal, says MCC

Cricinfo staff
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Angelo Mathews' acrobatic fielding effort in Sri Lanka's match against West Indies at Trent Bridge on Wednesday conformed to the Laws of Cricket, the MCC has said. Such "brilliant and quick-thinking" acts, it said, are good for the game and should not be deemed illegal.

Mathews was stationed on the wide long-on boundary when, in the 17th over of the chase, Ramnaresh Sarwan lofted Ajantha Mendis in his direction. He caught the ball on the right side of the line but, realising the momentum had taken him backwards, flung the ball in the air before his foot landed over the boundary. Looking up, he saw that the ball would land outside the boundary, resulting in a six, and so picked himself up, jumped and smashed the ball, tennis-style, over the rope and back into play.

It led to a brief hold-up in play with the two on-field umpires - Billy Bowden and Simon Taufel - consulting the third umpire Ian Gould and eventually West Indies were credited with only three runs.

John Stephenson, the MCC's assistant secretary, confirmed Mathews' fielding was deemed legal according to Law 19.3(a)(ii).

"The MCC Laws sub-committee had recently discussed fielding such as this and felt that such brilliant and quick-thinking acts should not be outlawed," Stephenson said. "MCC is happy with the Law as it is written and occurrences such as the one yesterday, while extremely rare, are good for the game of cricket as a whole. It is also pleasing that two of the committee's members were involved in making the correct decision on the field of play."

Law 19.3 (a) (ii) states: A boundary shall be scored and signalled by the umpire at the bowler's end whenever, while the ball is in play, in his opinion - a fielder, with some part of his person in contact with the ball, touches the boundary or has some part of his person grounded beyond the boundary.

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  • POSTED BY DrDeepakSitaramHiwale on | June 15, 2009, 4:01 GMT

    I don't really care whether it was legal or illegal, as a player you have to go with your instincts to save as many or score as many as you can....In sport of any kind, you have to give your 100% when you are in the field of play.It would indeed have been unfortunate if the umpires had ruled it illegal, coz that would deter players from such flashes of brilliance. The game of cricket is changing at such a frenetic pace; it is a good thing that even the officials have to be on their toes to accommodate such rare incidences within the laws. And isn't modern sport about television and viewer ship? If that piece of fielding did not make for great viewing, I do not know, what will!!!

  • POSTED BY MrLongOn on | June 14, 2009, 20:46 GMT

    You know what..

    People who say we must appriciate that great feilding effort and think it is legal... They should think again. What do you think if the fielder who hit the ball with his hand from outside the boundary line in the air and some one from his team might have caught it. Would that be a catch? Would the batsman be out in this case?

    The ball is outside the boundary line, it should be Six, no matter if it hits the ground or the fielder outside the line.

  • POSTED BY Amila on | June 14, 2009, 7:07 GMT

    As long as the cricketing law allows this kind of fielding it is leagal. is's simple as that. If the MCC says its leagle, as they are the ones who implement the law ,theres no point in arguing. we must appriciate that great feilding effort.

  • POSTED BY parakum on | June 13, 2009, 8:13 GMT

    I can't understand why people are quoting Harsha Bhogle as if he is some cricket expert. He is just a commentator - was never even a good player. And his statement is stupid - murder is illegal, whether it is ugly or pretty. What Angelo did was legal. May be Harsha would have his big mouth tamed a bit after India's loss :-)

  • POSTED BY CiMP on | June 13, 2009, 5:51 GMT

    @Trinione: This is exactly Adam Voges did. And it was considered brilliant by teh commentators then! As the umpires' ruling is final, it is legal. Period. If we have any quarrels we can only ask for change in rules. But, yes, I agree laws need to be made simpler.

  • POSTED BY Thanura on | June 13, 2009, 2:22 GMT

    I think most of you guys missed the most important part in the rule. "in his opinion" (in umpires opinion) Since Mathews was in the play when the the ball was delivered and he took the catch, threw the ball up unbalanced and palmed it back into play. The game wasn't disturbed by anything. So the game should continue. (If a spectator disturbs the play the umpire has the right to call it a dead ball or if it is outside the playing area, a six or a boundary.)

    These kind of interesting play shouldn't be illegal. These acts keep the games interest. Otherwise the sport will be boring. Most of the rules are made in batsman's favour. Why do people go crazy when something is in favour of the bowler or the fieldsman.

  • POSTED BY the_cooz on | June 13, 2009, 1:11 GMT

    What a brilliant piece of fielding. According to the laws of cricket as they're written (in the article itself), it was legal. I wonder if the ICC will consider changing this law though for the second bat-back when Mathews was outside the field of play. I have no problem with it because Mathews started the fielding attempt in the field of play - if he was outside the field of play when the attempt to field the ball started, then that should be illegal. vineetkarthi, we're not playing American football here - the ball or a fielder in contact with the ball has to be GROUNDED over or on the boundary line/rope for a boundary to be called. Read the rules.

  • POSTED BY UriGagarin on | June 12, 2009, 23:08 GMT

    Having read through the decision by the MCC, I can only agree - its clever interpretation in the field. The ball in this case only becomes dead when it lands , not crosses the boundary (eg its the difference between rugby and football line calls) so deft fieldwork has prevented a 6, provided the fielder didn't have any part of his body grounded outside the boundary then I can't see the problem ..

    Still not sure whether you could manufacture a catch out of it ... the laws might have something else to say.

  • POSTED BY Trinione on | June 12, 2009, 21:06 GMT

    It was clearly a SIX! The umpires got it wrong - surprise surprise!

    - So, a fielder is about to take a catch... realises their momentum is going to take them over the line... - Plays hand tennis beyond the boundary - Comes back onto the field of play and claim a catch?

    Give me a break!

  • POSTED BY wecaz on | June 12, 2009, 18:47 GMT

    Since the ball had crossed the boundary line in the air, it should be a six. A fielder is allowed to put the ball back in only if "he started his jump from inside the playing area". That is my point of view. Anything else is illegal not innovative.

  • POSTED BY DrDeepakSitaramHiwale on | June 15, 2009, 4:01 GMT

    I don't really care whether it was legal or illegal, as a player you have to go with your instincts to save as many or score as many as you can....In sport of any kind, you have to give your 100% when you are in the field of play.It would indeed have been unfortunate if the umpires had ruled it illegal, coz that would deter players from such flashes of brilliance. The game of cricket is changing at such a frenetic pace; it is a good thing that even the officials have to be on their toes to accommodate such rare incidences within the laws. And isn't modern sport about television and viewer ship? If that piece of fielding did not make for great viewing, I do not know, what will!!!

  • POSTED BY MrLongOn on | June 14, 2009, 20:46 GMT

    You know what..

    People who say we must appriciate that great feilding effort and think it is legal... They should think again. What do you think if the fielder who hit the ball with his hand from outside the boundary line in the air and some one from his team might have caught it. Would that be a catch? Would the batsman be out in this case?

    The ball is outside the boundary line, it should be Six, no matter if it hits the ground or the fielder outside the line.

  • POSTED BY Amila on | June 14, 2009, 7:07 GMT

    As long as the cricketing law allows this kind of fielding it is leagal. is's simple as that. If the MCC says its leagle, as they are the ones who implement the law ,theres no point in arguing. we must appriciate that great feilding effort.

  • POSTED BY parakum on | June 13, 2009, 8:13 GMT

    I can't understand why people are quoting Harsha Bhogle as if he is some cricket expert. He is just a commentator - was never even a good player. And his statement is stupid - murder is illegal, whether it is ugly or pretty. What Angelo did was legal. May be Harsha would have his big mouth tamed a bit after India's loss :-)

  • POSTED BY CiMP on | June 13, 2009, 5:51 GMT

    @Trinione: This is exactly Adam Voges did. And it was considered brilliant by teh commentators then! As the umpires' ruling is final, it is legal. Period. If we have any quarrels we can only ask for change in rules. But, yes, I agree laws need to be made simpler.

  • POSTED BY Thanura on | June 13, 2009, 2:22 GMT

    I think most of you guys missed the most important part in the rule. "in his opinion" (in umpires opinion) Since Mathews was in the play when the the ball was delivered and he took the catch, threw the ball up unbalanced and palmed it back into play. The game wasn't disturbed by anything. So the game should continue. (If a spectator disturbs the play the umpire has the right to call it a dead ball or if it is outside the playing area, a six or a boundary.)

    These kind of interesting play shouldn't be illegal. These acts keep the games interest. Otherwise the sport will be boring. Most of the rules are made in batsman's favour. Why do people go crazy when something is in favour of the bowler or the fieldsman.

  • POSTED BY the_cooz on | June 13, 2009, 1:11 GMT

    What a brilliant piece of fielding. According to the laws of cricket as they're written (in the article itself), it was legal. I wonder if the ICC will consider changing this law though for the second bat-back when Mathews was outside the field of play. I have no problem with it because Mathews started the fielding attempt in the field of play - if he was outside the field of play when the attempt to field the ball started, then that should be illegal. vineetkarthi, we're not playing American football here - the ball or a fielder in contact with the ball has to be GROUNDED over or on the boundary line/rope for a boundary to be called. Read the rules.

  • POSTED BY UriGagarin on | June 12, 2009, 23:08 GMT

    Having read through the decision by the MCC, I can only agree - its clever interpretation in the field. The ball in this case only becomes dead when it lands , not crosses the boundary (eg its the difference between rugby and football line calls) so deft fieldwork has prevented a 6, provided the fielder didn't have any part of his body grounded outside the boundary then I can't see the problem ..

    Still not sure whether you could manufacture a catch out of it ... the laws might have something else to say.

  • POSTED BY Trinione on | June 12, 2009, 21:06 GMT

    It was clearly a SIX! The umpires got it wrong - surprise surprise!

    - So, a fielder is about to take a catch... realises their momentum is going to take them over the line... - Plays hand tennis beyond the boundary - Comes back onto the field of play and claim a catch?

    Give me a break!

  • POSTED BY wecaz on | June 12, 2009, 18:47 GMT

    Since the ball had crossed the boundary line in the air, it should be a six. A fielder is allowed to put the ball back in only if "he started his jump from inside the playing area". That is my point of view. Anything else is illegal not innovative.

  • POSTED BY guilo on | June 12, 2009, 17:05 GMT

    This has to be a six, because otherwise a fielder who saw that he would not be able to catch the ball, would go way outside the boundary, maybe even into the stands, catch it whilst jumping and the throw it back into field before he touches the ground. The rule should stipulate that it is a boundary unless the fielder has touched the field inside the boundary before he touches the ball. If the last ground he touches is outside the boundary it should be a six. If Mathews jumped from outside the boundary, caught it inside the boundary ropes, but aerially, and manages to throw it back in play, that should not be a six.

    If you could 'juggle' the ball while outside the field of play, and catch it when you enter the field of play again, you can even dismiss a batsman, which is surely unfair. Therefore, the Mathews catch should have been a six. This is not as debatable as the switch-hit, which is ingenious and risky to play, so does not count in the batsman's favour.

  • POSTED BY Baseium on | June 12, 2009, 15:16 GMT

    the problem is he left the field of play and saved the Six if he had done it while in play than ofcourse its excellent but in this scenario sorry to say the umpires got it wrong. i can see it already how this will complicate things for the future and make umpires life more difficult. what in that instance if it was a catch? or it became a catch with the aid of another player? than what? one will not have problem wit flat sixes but what about top edges? players will wait outside the boundary line and throw the ball back in play while in air, im sure players will go further as using the advertisement boards or other boundary equipment for aid... as long as you in air when you made contact with the ball that what matters according to MCC?

  • POSTED BY cricketlover08 on | June 12, 2009, 14:47 GMT

    I too disagree with the rule. I have nothing against Mathews. He did his best to avoid conceding a 6. I think that once a fielder is outside the playing area even if he jumps in the air, it should be considered as he is outside. Let us assume that a batsman hits the ball into the crowd well over the boundary line and let us assume that a fielder was able to get into the crowd and jumps in the air takes the catch and throws the ball back inside. According to this law that will not be given a 6 but that doesn't make sense to me. Then there is no use of having a boundary line.

  • POSTED BY R.AkKi.S on | June 12, 2009, 14:38 GMT

    Guys, this is as simple as a run out, when the bat is not grounded. Even if the batsman has crossed the line, but does not have the bat or the foot grounded, he is given out, then what's the fuss with this? In fact, it is a very innovative and creative work. Good work Mathews.!

  • POSTED BY tushmath on | June 12, 2009, 13:42 GMT

    guys..quick question..now next time if the ball is going for 6..is it legal for the player to cross the bondary wait for it to come to him then jump and push it on the field of play????

  • POSTED BY ProudToBeAIndian on | June 12, 2009, 11:52 GMT

    As i told earlier, THIS SHOULD NOT BE A 6, THERE ARE LOT OF CASES WHERE WE HAVE SEEN A FEILDER SLIDES TO SAVE A 4 AND PUSHES THE BALL BEFORE HE OR THE BALL TOUCHES THE BOUNDRY AND COMES BACK IN AND PICKS UP THE BALL.

    WHEN THE ABOVE IS NOT A 4 THEN HOW THIS ONE IS 6.

    IN BOTH CASES THE FEILDERS CROSSED THE BOUNDARY. COME ON GUYS APPRECIATE ANGELO'S EFFORT. AND INCASE IF THE DECISION HAS TO TAKE AS BENIFIT OF DOUBT THEN GIVE IT TO FEILDER AS THESE KIND OF BRILLIANT EFFORTS ARE VERY RARE.

  • POSTED BY anotherbajan on | June 12, 2009, 11:43 GMT

    What's the point in having a boundary line if the ball can reach that line and still not be a boundary? Seems like somebody is "shifting the goalposts" while the game is in progress.

  • POSTED BY badrisush on | June 12, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    Guys!!!!!!!this cannot be legal, it should be termed legal only when Mathews come back into the field area and jump and do some acrobatics to stop the ball but not from outside the playing area

  • POSTED BY CricMonk on | June 12, 2009, 11:27 GMT

    Can't agree with the argument that a fielder sliding out of the ropes when saving a four and Angelo Mathews' effort are similar. When a fielder slides out of the ropes while saving a four, he doesn't pickup the ball whille still outside the boundary rope. He comes back inside and then picks up the ball. This is not the case here. While he is not touching the ground when he is in contact with the ball, Angelo Mathews is outside the boundary rope when he jumps to push the ball back inside, which is more like trying to save a boundary standing outside the ropes.

  • POSTED BY vineetkarthi on | June 12, 2009, 10:54 GMT

    Wonder why the umpires missed the obvious: the ball had crossed the rope in the air when the fielder tried to palm it and keep it in the field of play. The next time around, when he pushed the ball back into the field of play, not only was he well behind the boundary line but the ball had crossed the boundary line in the air as well. If that is not obvious to the ICC officials, wonder what would be.

  • POSTED BY sujanm on | June 12, 2009, 10:01 GMT

    To start with the effort from Angie is absolutely brilliant an as a person who played cricket with Angie for the same school side I'm proud of him ! But speaking about the legality of the situation I think under the current law it is perfectly possible for a acrobatic fielder to do a outstanding performance like that but my view is that law should be changed.A fielder can push a ball inside when airborne if he jumped out of inside the playing area. So what i think is under the current law what Angie did was perfectly legal but in the future the laws should be changed...........

  • POSTED BY Jasonharcourt on | June 12, 2009, 9:52 GMT

    To add:

    Ruvvy - I believe the player has to be in the field of play when the bowler bowls. As I said before, when I'm fielding on the boundary I start a couple of yards outside, but walk in as the bowler runs in, so when he delivers I am on the line.

    Sorry, V. Rajaa, but I think you are being slightly hysterical. As long as the fielder is not grounded when he touches the ball, the ball remains in play until it itself is grounded.

  • POSTED BY Jasonharcourt on | June 12, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    Subho85 - while you are right to say this fielding was correctly adjudged as legal, to compare it to throwing the ball in the air, stepping out and back in, then completing a catch is wrong. As I said before, the Laws clearly state that the act of taking a catch begins when a player first makes contact with the ball, and ends when the ball is safely caught. A player may not leave the field of play during the act of taking the catch.

    To vswami - see above. Whether the player is touching the ball when he steps over the boundary line is irrelevant, as the "act" of taking the catch has already started.

    The key, to those who say it should be 6, is that a 6 is awarded once the ball is grounded beyond the boundary line, or the fielder is grounded beyond the line in possession of the ball.

  • POSTED BY Champikz on | June 12, 2009, 9:09 GMT

    "John Stephenson, the MCC's assistant secretary, confirmed Mathews' fielding was deemed legal according to Law 19.3(a)(ii).", Shan_Ram & V.Rajaa can't you read english just like you'd listen to Harsha's fake stories. get off your high horse even when the MCC has confirmed his(Mathews) effort was legal. This is not the first time happened in this tounament but for Sri Lankan cricket team.

  • POSTED BY Kandylions on | June 12, 2009, 8:21 GMT

    Mathews made an excellent piece of fielding in any format of cricketing history and it made a great subject to talk about.

    Forget about the words of jugglery from the commentators as they speaks things sometimes even they don't understand (Specialy the Indian Commentators) always they try to add something new and they think that they are WIZARDS OF WORDS (Let Harsha learn the book of cricket rules before opens his big mouth - if this had been happened while a Indian feilder fielding he might talk otherway arround)

    If the cricketing rules book say's it's leagal - so, all credit to Anjelo Mathews 'Very Simple'

  • POSTED BY V.Rajaa on | June 12, 2009, 7:58 GMT

    Its surely illegal. Bcoz when he landed outside the boundary line, he is mere a spectator or a fan alone.. He should not be treated as a lankan player who was on the field at that time. Can we allow any reserve player who was in the dug out stops the ball..!? Can we allow a fan to field..!?

    Then how come this legal then..!? Pathetic. He jumped to push the ball inside the boundary from outside the fielding area. That shoule have been taken into account. If he landed outside the boundary line after pushing the ball inside, that could not be a six. But he jumped to push the ball in the air to playing field from outside the boundary line..

    Here, from where he started jumping is the big question while he pushed the ball.. The answer is from outside the playing area. Now think, there were somany people outside the playing area.. Can those socalled rules allow any one amongst the spectator pushes the ball into the playing area..!? It was a real stupid decision.That shd hv bn given a 6.

  • POSTED BY ruvvy on | June 12, 2009, 7:58 GMT

    Does it mean, player can walk backwards to stand beyond the line as the bowler bowls?

  • POSTED BY Shan_Ram on | June 12, 2009, 7:55 GMT

    It was an excellent effort, yet it cannot be legal; like Harsha Bhogle said on TV, you can't allow the murderer to get away just because it was a 'pretty murder'! Once a fielder has landed beyond the boundary and operates from there, whether on land or in air, he should be considered outside the boundary; in which case it is clearly a six.

  • POSTED BY dileep_rayagiri on | June 12, 2009, 7:09 GMT

    I would like to bring a point here. Imagine there was a sliding effort to save a boundary, and the fielder happens to stop the ball within the play area, but drags himself to the other side, comes back and picks the ball up again. Would u call that a boundary?...it happened on numerous occasions and was never declared as a FOUR. i am sure no one ever complained with that decision. If that was fair, then why on earth should this be given a SIX? Mathews was never in contact with the ball and wrong side of the rope simultaneously, and i see it as a good enough reason to be called a clean effort.

  • POSTED BY Mad_abt_Kirikett on | June 12, 2009, 5:59 GMT

    Hi to all Cricket Freaks....Outstanding effort by Mathews... Its neither 4 nor 6, in fact its 8 (3 + 5 p). Let me explain. As per Law, if fielding team uses any Physical object, even Extra Helmets for Silly Pt., Short Leg posns., allowed by Umpires in the field, costs a Penalty. Default 5 Runs will be awarded to Batting team.(This is not true for their trousers, which happened in SL & Ind in Colombo,for Vaas & Dravid Run out.) Now coming to Mathews effort, though he is in the air by the time he pushed the ball inside the boundary line, he used the Ground outside the boundary. This is similar to taking assistance of Refreshing Kit(Drinks Kit) or Boundary Board, which becomes a third party.(Referring to Harris catch in NZ in Late 90's). So crossing the boundary and jumping in the air with help of any object outside boundary (even ground) to push the ball is a penalty. Thus original 3 Runs + 5 Penalty runs add up to 8 runs. But let us not undermine his efforts which occur rarely in Cric

  • POSTED BY Polavaram on | June 12, 2009, 5:52 GMT

    Definitely, great piece of fielding effort. But, i dont agree with MCC confirming it as legal. Eventhough the fielder was in air at the time of contact with the ball, he was already out of the rope. If it is legal, then placing a fielder beyond the boundary rope shd be legal as well. Fielder can go outside the rope when out of control, but his actions shd be legal only when they are performed inside the rope, like Oram did in the 2nd T20 match against India in New Zealand couple of months b4.

  • POSTED BY Subho85 on | June 12, 2009, 5:47 GMT

    It is quite clear that under the current laws, Matthews' act was entirely legal and breathtaking and all the people who are questioning it, do not follow cricket that closely. It is almost same as when a fielder catches a ball at the edge of the boundary, then lobs the ball in the air, steps out side the line to balance himself and comes back in to complete the catch. I wonder how the commentators for that match were shocked when that was not given a six. May be they should consider a career somewhere else!!

  • POSTED BY ScarceCommonSense on | June 12, 2009, 5:42 GMT

    In a similar incident seen here in Grenada recently, a ball was hit high back over the bowler's head for what looked like another 6. I was stunned to see the most spectacular piece of cricketing acrobatics as the long off fielder was able to go airborne and smash the ball back inside the boundary (before landing behind the line) for his team mate to catch the ball and claim the wicket. The batsman was given out and I was curious to know what the rule was, and how the ICC umpires would rule if it happened in int'l cricket, because I knew it was only a matter of time before it happened on the big stage with cricket's highest authority in full view. My only regrets though, was (1) that the fielder for his great effort wasn't given the recognition he deserved and (2) like in the case discussed here, simple logics and common sense wasn't applied. Even if you were short-sighted, basic understanding of physics and the law of gravity should be enough to determine that the result is six! 6!

  • POSTED BY horusNZ on | June 12, 2009, 5:31 GMT

    OrangeC, its not quite the same. In NBA basketball you can leap over the sideline and keep a ball in play, but you must have come from inside the area of play to do so. It would seem that in cricket this is not the case, you can run over the boundary line and then jump into the air to keep the ball in.

    I always assumed the rule was the same as in basketball, I think it would be better that way in any case..

  • POSTED BY Champikz on | June 12, 2009, 4:36 GMT

    nice work Matthews. Since he doesn't have his feet touched the outside the boundary rope while carrying the ball, it is neither a four nor a six.

  • POSTED BY Eranga_Abey on | June 12, 2009, 4:05 GMT

    I heard the match announcer again and agin announced that " it's clear that it should be GIVEN A SIX according to the CRICKET LAWS.

    But MCC's assistant secretary, has confirmed Mathews' fielding was deemed legal according to Law.

    So Does it mean that official cricket announcers in this WORLD cup DONT KNOW the CRICKET RULES and LAWS? Then how we can trust their COMMENTS.

  • POSTED BY garthw on | June 12, 2009, 3:43 GMT

    Excellent effort. Don't remember if he was "grounded" when he batted the ball back into play. If so the law as written @ the top of the page is clear and it should have been a six as he was clearly over the boundary. Not surprised by the decision though. The decline of WI cricket has been assisted by some questionable umpiring decisions over the last 10 years or so (eg Wavell Hinds in the UK). I will say that I can't think of a WI player in the current side (excepting Bravo) that would have cared enough or had the presence of mind to do what Angelo did.

  • POSTED BY aljen on | June 11, 2009, 23:50 GMT

    Let the maddness stop now!!!! A player cannot be out of the field of play (out of bounds) and suddenly leap into the air and volley a ball into play. When the player's feet touched beyond the boundary line he was not in the field of play and as a result when he came into contact with the ball, the ball was also over the boundary line. The only logical and sensible decision that anyone could take in relation to this mattter was to signal 6 runs. Rae we playing cricket on MARS!!!!

    This is an embarassment to the MCC and ICC and the correct ruling should be made before another match is played. -

  • POSTED BY parakum on | June 11, 2009, 22:19 GMT

    cricketfanatic, almost there. I think the law should be that player should be on ground within the field of play just before contact with the ball (although at the point of contact he may be in the air). This would make it ok to catch from inside, throw the ball in and fall back (not out and not a boundary). Unfortunately it would make Angelo's brilliant effort illegal, which I think it should be. Imagine if he managed to jump back in with the ball - with the current laws the batsman would be out!

  • POSTED BY riverlime on | June 11, 2009, 21:22 GMT

    As the rules stand, that was three runs. But it was a six in spirit. It's also quite easy to arbitrate too. All this argy-bargy about fielders waiting outside the boundary rope is unnecessary. The Law should stipulate that once a player steps out of the playing area, he can no longer legally field until the ball is dead again. This would both reward athleticism in preventing sixes, as well as give the batting side some reward. In other words, if Mathews had knocked the ball back into play with his FIRST touch, then the batsmen could have run four by the time another fielder retrieved the ball. THAT particular play in the SL/WI game would have been a six under these rules because Mathews had TWO goes at fielding the ball. You heard it first here.

  • POSTED BY Graduated_Cheetah on | June 11, 2009, 20:10 GMT

    Well, all the fielders are supposed to be inside the boundary when the ball is being bowled. So the possibility of setting up fielders in the stands is not valid.

    What Angelo just did is one of the most brilliant efforts in terms of fielding. It is legal because he started fielding within the boundary ropes, he made the first contact with the ball within the boundary, when he touched the ball outside the rope he was in the air (no body part touching the ground) and the ball landed in the ground without touching the rope.

    So its all Legal :)

  • POSTED BY OrangeC on | June 11, 2009, 20:09 GMT

    I guess the rules of soccer do not applu to cricket. In soccer, if the ball crosses the plane of the boundary line, it is deemed out of play. In cricket, it sounds like it is in the play as long as the player has not stepped out of the field. If you have been watching NBA, take a look at basketball rules, and it is the same way. The ball can be outside, but as long as the player has not stepped out, play goes on!

  • POSTED BY CiMP on | June 11, 2009, 17:30 GMT

    @mimrannawaz: Interesting point. Got to be checked. This apart, while Angelo Mathews deserves all the kudos for thinking on the feet and on the fly (strangely both simultaneously!) I think, like Ian Chappell had said, the laws need to be simplified and hair splitting avoided.

  • POSTED BY pradeep_dealwis on | June 11, 2009, 17:12 GMT

    gr8 bit of fielding. sebred ur logic is wrong. law 19.3(11) says.."a fielder, with some part of his person in contact with the ball, touches the boundary"..so he has to HAVE CONTACT with the ball while he touches the boundary or beyond. nwas this happening is good. the batsman shouldn't have all the fun. fielding and bowling should also give excitement to the spectators.

  • POSTED BY slakkoju on | June 11, 2009, 16:48 GMT

    With due respect to the people who govern the gentleman's game, it looks ridiculous to legalize the Mathew's fielding. Although it is a clever fielding, for the people who support this type of fielding I have a question- let us think of a batsman running and crossed the stumps and the fielder throws the ball to the stumps. To save himself batsman jumps and the ball hit the stumps when he is in the air, is the batsman out- because he is not on the ground????????? or the batsman is not out because he already crossed the line ( as the current rule says ).

  • POSTED BY DAN22 on | June 11, 2009, 16:38 GMT

    Lava, Still possible as per the spirit of the law

    The fielder can stand outside the boundary...jump up in the air when the bowler starts his run- up and then come in or stay out (but in the air) when the catch comes towards him and then take the catch.

    Do you even play cricket or are you an old fogey who believes that reverse sweep is against the rule of law.

    Speaking of which...Why are batsman allowed to stand wherever they want when the bowler has a front and back foot no ball rule.

  • POSTED BY vswami on | June 11, 2009, 16:33 GMT

    This is the most absurd piece of ruling I have read by MCC. Voges and Oram are not comparisons because at all points in time when they were in contact with the ball they were inside the boundary rope. They did it the right way. What they do in the time when they are not in contact is immaterial. In this case, before and after Matthews was in the air( when he touched the ball) he touched the ground outside the field of play. In cricket unlike in some other sports, being in field of play is determined by whether all parts of the body touching the ground are within the boundary line or not. Great effort by Matthews no doubt, but should have been a six.

  • POSTED BY DAN22 on | June 11, 2009, 16:29 GMT

    I believe the theoretical answer is that who does the airspace belong to? When we talk of borders or boundaries in terms of countries or territories then we say that airspace also belongs to the same country to which the ground belongs to. However since cricket rules are heavily in the batsman favour it would be great to give this to the bowling side. Sports is entertainment so lets make rules to favour the brave...in this case Mr Mathews.

  • POSTED BY mgrocock on | June 11, 2009, 16:11 GMT

    Appendix D defines a fielder as "any one of those 11 or fewer players currently on the field of play who together compose the fielding side" while Law 2.5 states that if "a fielder...leaves the field during a session of play...he shall not thereafter come on to the field...without the consent of the umpire." So if you take a position off the field, or leave at any time during a session, you cease to be a fielder until the umpire gives his consent for your return. If you return to the field without consent to complete a catch or piece of fielding, the ball becomes dead and penalty runs are awarded under Law 2.6. However, Appendix D allows for a "player going briefly outside the boundary in the course of discharging his duties as a fielder." In other words, spectacular, quick-witted efforts like that of Matthews are legal (and should be encouraged) but umpires are empowered to intervene if the fielding side takes the mickey!

  • POSTED BY liam_ali on | June 11, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    how can a ball that has passed the rope be in play? that was clearly a six.and to think that the 3rd umpire wasn't able ,with so many replays ,to see that the ball had gone past the rope is inexcuseable.now the MCC agrees just shows what a bunch of no-brainers they are

  • POSTED BY lanka_86 on | June 11, 2009, 15:23 GMT

    The law should be interpreted as it is done in rugby for sidelines, ie. you must jump from inside the boundary. What Mathews did was a marginal case (acceptable to some people), but it opens the possibility of a fielder throwing the ball in the air several times (unacceptable).

  • POSTED BY JohnBrown on | June 11, 2009, 14:54 GMT

    I see a Rider developing soon - to Boundary Rule 19.3(a). There seems to be an ambiguity in it's wording - thrown up by the wonderful skill & foresight of the Sri Lankan fielder.

    Of all the current Test & One Day teams - there is a disarming simplicity in the way the Sri Lankans play the game - they seem to have an intuitive understanding of it, how cricket might well mirror life itself; they play it with such verve and creativity.

    For a boundary to be scored two conditions need to be satisfied. The fielder must be in touch with the ball and be grounded. In 'the Angelo Mathews save' he avoids being grounded by elevating himself off the ground. There is however a presumption in the wording that the fielder is 'in play' himself immediately prior to the grounding.

    What happens after he has grounded himself over the boundary - how does he come back into play? Can he simply launch himself into the air. Does he not have to step back-in to bring himself into play first? JBrown

  • POSTED BY RAVONX on | June 11, 2009, 14:54 GMT

    Once MCC has said its legal, then its end of the point. he was in the playin field when the shot was hit. It was a great piece of fielding no doubt. And to those who say that they can PUNCH a LEATHER cricket ball coming down at you from a distance of 70 meters or so at the rate of nots, standing outside the field or in the pavillion.., well he has to be a really brave guy to do that!!!

  • POSTED BY sebred on | June 11, 2009, 14:47 GMT

    ALL players must be within the field of play (nixes placing fielders outside the boundary).

    A boundary comes about when the ball is grounded according to the rule 19.3 a (ii). At no instant was the ball grounded. Following some of the logic here, if a fielder stops the ball before it reaches the boundary, then he touches or crosses the boundary line, then runs back in and picks up the ball,then it is a boundary because "some part of his person grounded beyond the boundary". If it is the opinion that the batsman be rewarded with a boundary once the ball crosses the boundary line, so be it. But changing the rule to that effect could create more problems than it solves even with the use of modern technology.

    Anyway, it is great to see cricketers using their athleticism and brains...

  • POSTED BY Kayes on | June 11, 2009, 14:04 GMT

    The fielder can not wait outside the boundary rope and field 'from' there while play is going on. Consider this scenario: A fielder watches the ball is going to fly just over his head to the boundary. And he will not be able to catch the ball with his height inside the boundary rope. But suddenly he realized that if he could step back a little outside the boundary rope and position himself in such a way that if he jumped forward and grabbed the ball in the air, his forward momentum would help him land inside the boundary rope safely. But this action would be ruled illegal because the fielder intentionally waited outside in a suitable position and started fielding from there to catch the ball. But if he starts fielding from outside the rope and catches the ball with all his body parts inside, it would be legal.

    Matthew's effort has been deemed legal because he started fielding from inside the boundary rope.

  • POSTED BY graeme0811 on | June 11, 2009, 14:03 GMT

    Seriously, do you really think it'd be beneficial for teams to take advantage of this "loophole" by placing fielders in the stands? They have enough trouble covering the extent of the playing field without trying to guess where the next 6 is going to go. In all honesty, I had a bit of a problem with the rule at first, but, after some thought, I reckon it would be just as the MCC guys said: A chance for some special skills and clever thinking to be displayed.

  • POSTED BY rangu77 on | June 11, 2009, 14:02 GMT

    Angelo, brilliant effort!

    @Lava.Kumar.Goli All 9 fielders + 1 'keeper have to be ON the field of play (inside the boundary) when the ball is in play. If one of these 9 fielders stands outside the boundary when the ball is in play, then it is adjudged a dead ball.

  • POSTED BY wiiCricket on | June 11, 2009, 13:55 GMT

    Pathetic!! If Mathew would have threw the ball INSIDE the boundary then it deem valid but ball already crossed the boundary which according to law is a six - meaning if ball crosses the boundary rope without touching the ground then it is a six. Cricket laws are becoming more like real estate laws in USA. The second thing that disgust me is "Such "brilliant and quick-thinking" acts, it said, are good for the game and should not be deemed illegal".... well then why ban Botha who bend while bowling doosra... that is another brilliance that not everybody can achieve?... Comon' lets just be little practical here folks, will ya?

  • POSTED BY cricketfanatic on | June 11, 2009, 13:53 GMT

    This is indeed a great fielding effort, and based on the current laws, is legal. However, there is a major flaw in this law that the others have pointed out, mainly that the fielder can start outside the boundary, or in the stands, and then jump to parry the ball back onto the field. This can be avoided by adding a clause in the law that goes something like this: "the fielder involved must not touch the boundary or have any part of his person grounded beyond the boundary between the time the ball is bowled and the time that he makes his first contact with the ball, while the ball remains in play". This ensures that the Angelo Matthews effort is legal as he first touched the ball within the ropes and then jumped up and pushed it in outside the rope. This also ensures that instances of fielders starting outside the boundary or in the stands becomes illegal. Thus, this clause will reward only the great fielders who can juggle the ball, and not those who can only parry the ball.

  • POSTED BY rangu77 on | June 11, 2009, 13:52 GMT

    Angelo, brilliant effort!

    @Lava.Kumar.Goli All 9 fielders + 1 'keeper have to be ON the field of play (inside the boundary) when the ball is in play. If one of these 9 fielders stands outside the boundary when the ball is in play, then it is adjudged a dead ball.

  • POSTED BY Andys-12 on | June 11, 2009, 13:38 GMT

    Goli, this is the case of the player being inside the filed while the bowler begins his run up. A player can not be outside the field while the ball in being bowled..

  • POSTED BY karthik132 on | June 11, 2009, 13:29 GMT

    It certainly was quick thinking. But as Harsha Bhogle wittily pointed out in the match analysis, "Will a clever murder be held legal?". With due respect to the laws i think it should be changed such that it is deemed a boundary when the ball crosses the rope. Else we may find different situations where the fielder can jump from outside the playing area catch the ball, land inside and claim a wicket.

  • POSTED BY ChandikaGunawardhana on | June 11, 2009, 13:23 GMT

    100% to the effort. But it is a six because he stepped outside the boundary line last.

  • POSTED BY Jasonharcourt on | June 11, 2009, 13:15 GMT

    Saw this on the news this morning, and on this occasion the umpires got it spot on. Well done to the fielder for displaying the presence of mind to do this.

    Shame the umpires in previous T20 matches have got the decision wrong (re: the catches by Voges and Oram), as in both cases the act of taking the catch started when they flipped the ball up, and ended when they caught the ball - and players may not leave the field of play during the act of taking a catch.

    Lava - not sure on your point. I know I often start from beyond the boundary when fielding on the line, but I walk in to the boundary line when the bowler is bowling.

  • POSTED BY ProudToBeAIndian on | June 11, 2009, 13:10 GMT

    Iam very happy with this decision and appreciate Angelo's Brilliant effort and thinking which you cant see frequently. Without any doubt the decission has to be in Feilder favor since it is a exceptional and rare effort. To all the people who are asking question like is it okay to put feilders in stands after bowler released the ball? Yes you can always ask feilders to run into stands after the ball is released if you are confident enough that your feilder is capable of doing such act and if you are sure that ball is going to come where your player is in stands..

    Lot of 4's were stopped pushing the ball into the ground before the ball/feilder touches the rope and in those cases too the feilder crossed the broundry and came back into the ground.. Why cant you guys consider it as 4 hen?

  • POSTED BY mimrannawaz on | June 11, 2009, 13:00 GMT

    Well goo effort but its against the rule after throwing the ball back in play his cap was out of play when he touches the ball again its four I guess the rule makers are sleeping

  • POSTED BY DrAtharAbbas on | June 11, 2009, 12:59 GMT

    It opens up a new possibility as well. The small sixes can be caught by jumping from outside catching the ball in the air and landing inside. Although sounds strange but why not? It will be exactly opposite to the very usual case of making a catch inside the boundary and not being able to stop inside carrying the ball out of the bounday, where a six is awarded.

  • POSTED BY Daniel_Smith on | June 11, 2009, 12:49 GMT

    If a fielder was deliberately waiting outside the boundary then he would be counted as having left the field of play. In this case Matthew's aim was to catch the ball first, but then when realising his momentum would give six runs to the opposition his brilliant thinking and athleticism saved three runs.

    It's great that this happened in the World 20/20. Moments like this can only enhance the game and Sri Lanka.

    Well done Angelo Matthews.

  • POSTED BY Skywalker1977 on | June 11, 2009, 12:43 GMT

    Though legal now, this rule should be changed. Else a team can place its players in the stands as well. To avert a boundary, a player must not be in contact with the ball beyond the ropes either grounded or airborne.

  • POSTED BY Nathan245 on | June 11, 2009, 12:43 GMT

    awesome presence of mind by angelo mathews.... wat thinking ... wat a dive to throw the ball outside.... MCC has said its legal ... end of discussion.. now wat any1 else feels abt if its legal or not is not gonna make any difference...

  • POSTED BY Sekhar_S on | June 11, 2009, 12:40 GMT

    @Lava.Kumar.Goli, A fielder cannot wait outside the boundary.If he does,he can do so only with the permission of the umpires and he will be considered to have left the field.

    Thanks to MCC for clarifying this.I think it is high time the MCC revised the existing laws now that we have the concept of free hits and referrals which are not present in the 2003 law book.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | June 11, 2009, 12:39 GMT

    The umpires said that it was legal. MCC says that it was legal. What's the problem? It was stunning reactions and an amazing piece of thinking under pressure.

  • POSTED BY Doink on | June 11, 2009, 12:34 GMT

    The rule makes 100% sense and all this rubbish about placing fielders outside the ropes, they can do that if they want but it would be a major mistake and lead to more 4's and 6's to the left and right of the fielder,but the chances of this happening again are minuscule anyway.

  • POSTED BY Lava.Kumar.Goli on | June 11, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    Surprising to see that this is legal. What if the fielder waits outside the boundary, jumps int he air when it reaches him and pushes the ball in. Will it still be valid?

  • POSTED BY Mazharul on | June 11, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    This is great effort by Angelo Mathews. Great thinking in that situation. But I think there is a problem in the rule. Because fielder touched outside of the field. Will cricket allow boundary line fielder running outside the field after bowl is delivered, then the decide to come inside the field seeing the bowl or remain outside to punch the bowl. A fielder can run to gallery also!!. Fielders can do so in the slog overs. Five fielders on the line. some of them can go outside the line after bowl is delivered. That's how they can stop small sixes which fall just outside the rope.

    So poor rule, but Great utililization of that by Mathews..

  • POSTED BY Henry_Darana on | June 11, 2009, 11:51 GMT

    What the hell is this... I guess we should include some cricket playing gymnastic folk... That would be totally entertaining cricket....!!!!

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  • POSTED BY Henry_Darana on | June 11, 2009, 11:51 GMT

    What the hell is this... I guess we should include some cricket playing gymnastic folk... That would be totally entertaining cricket....!!!!

  • POSTED BY Mazharul on | June 11, 2009, 11:57 GMT

    This is great effort by Angelo Mathews. Great thinking in that situation. But I think there is a problem in the rule. Because fielder touched outside of the field. Will cricket allow boundary line fielder running outside the field after bowl is delivered, then the decide to come inside the field seeing the bowl or remain outside to punch the bowl. A fielder can run to gallery also!!. Fielders can do so in the slog overs. Five fielders on the line. some of them can go outside the line after bowl is delivered. That's how they can stop small sixes which fall just outside the rope.

    So poor rule, but Great utililization of that by Mathews..

  • POSTED BY Lava.Kumar.Goli on | June 11, 2009, 11:58 GMT

    Surprising to see that this is legal. What if the fielder waits outside the boundary, jumps int he air when it reaches him and pushes the ball in. Will it still be valid?

  • POSTED BY Doink on | June 11, 2009, 12:34 GMT

    The rule makes 100% sense and all this rubbish about placing fielders outside the ropes, they can do that if they want but it would be a major mistake and lead to more 4's and 6's to the left and right of the fielder,but the chances of this happening again are minuscule anyway.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | June 11, 2009, 12:39 GMT

    The umpires said that it was legal. MCC says that it was legal. What's the problem? It was stunning reactions and an amazing piece of thinking under pressure.

  • POSTED BY Sekhar_S on | June 11, 2009, 12:40 GMT

    @Lava.Kumar.Goli, A fielder cannot wait outside the boundary.If he does,he can do so only with the permission of the umpires and he will be considered to have left the field.

    Thanks to MCC for clarifying this.I think it is high time the MCC revised the existing laws now that we have the concept of free hits and referrals which are not present in the 2003 law book.

  • POSTED BY Nathan245 on | June 11, 2009, 12:43 GMT

    awesome presence of mind by angelo mathews.... wat thinking ... wat a dive to throw the ball outside.... MCC has said its legal ... end of discussion.. now wat any1 else feels abt if its legal or not is not gonna make any difference...

  • POSTED BY Skywalker1977 on | June 11, 2009, 12:43 GMT

    Though legal now, this rule should be changed. Else a team can place its players in the stands as well. To avert a boundary, a player must not be in contact with the ball beyond the ropes either grounded or airborne.

  • POSTED BY Daniel_Smith on | June 11, 2009, 12:49 GMT

    If a fielder was deliberately waiting outside the boundary then he would be counted as having left the field of play. In this case Matthew's aim was to catch the ball first, but then when realising his momentum would give six runs to the opposition his brilliant thinking and athleticism saved three runs.

    It's great that this happened in the World 20/20. Moments like this can only enhance the game and Sri Lanka.

    Well done Angelo Matthews.

  • POSTED BY DrAtharAbbas on | June 11, 2009, 12:59 GMT

    It opens up a new possibility as well. The small sixes can be caught by jumping from outside catching the ball in the air and landing inside. Although sounds strange but why not? It will be exactly opposite to the very usual case of making a catch inside the boundary and not being able to stop inside carrying the ball out of the bounday, where a six is awarded.