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Joe Weatherley's quick thinking nearly proves costly for Somerset

Hampshire top-scorer was reprieved early on after spotting an extra fielder outside the inner circle

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
The umpires await confirmation of Joe Weatherley's reprieve, Somerset vs Hampshire, 1st semi-final, Vitality Blast, Edgbaston, September 18, 2021

The umpires await confirmation of Joe Weatherley's reprieve  •  PA Images/Getty

While Somerset's tailenders ensured that it did not affect the result, a moment of quick thinking from Joe Weatherley looked for the majority of Hampshire's Blast semi-final at Edgbaston as though it might be the crucial flashpoint.
Weatherley was on 26 off 15 balls ahead of the final delivery of the Powerplay when he shuffled across in an attempt to slog-sweep Josh Davey for six over square leg. He was late on the shot, miscuing it high up into the air, and Tom Banton, Somerset's wicketkeeper, ran around towards square leg to take a steepling catch on his knees.
Somerset celebrated in a huddle but Weatherley went nowhere. Instead, he walked over towards the standing umpire to let him know that a third fielder had strayed outside of the inner ring, with Marchant de Lange - back on the third-man boundary rather than on the edge of the circle - the culprit.
The TV umpire struggled to find an angle with clear evidence either way, but after discussions between the two umpires (Graham Lloyd and Mike Burns), Weatherley, and Somerset's fielders, he was reprieved. As a result, Davey was forced to bowl a free hit; he missed his yorker, and Liam Dawson smeared the half-volley over long-off for six. Weatherley went on to top-score with 71 off 50 balls.
"To me they had two out leg side and to Liam Dawson they had [deep] third man and one out leg side," Weatherley explained. "I saw that there were two out leg side and a third man, and I just saw it as an opportunity.
"I was just desperate for Josh Davey to run in and bowl because I saw the opportunity and wanted to play the big shot. It was come on, run up and bowl it - it was a shot to nothing.
"There was a bit of confusion - I'm not sure there was a TV replay, so me and Liam were telling the umpires that there were three men back. To be fair to the Somerset guys, I think they knew there were three men back and Marchant admitted that he was back."
"It's something that I've got to take on the chin," Davey said. "I'm the one that sets the field and I should know where my two men out are, so it was my responsibility to bring third man up.
"Luckily it didn't cost us but it showed that small mistakes like that can be so big because Weatherley went on to make such an important innings there. Sometimes you get caught up in the moment of a day, [so it's important] just to relax yourself and take that extra second to make sure my field is in the right place."
Weatherley's quick thinking was by no means unprecedented. Only two weeks ago, Charith Asalanka was alert enough to benefit from a similar reprieve in Sri Lanka's third ODI against South Africa, while back in 2014, Eoin Morgan had done the same for England in a post-Ashes limited-overs series against Australia at the Gabba.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98