Punjab Kings (PBKS) kept themselves alive in the playoffs race after defeating Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by five wickets at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday. This win helped PBKS in acquiring the fifth spot in the standings with 10 points.
Captain KL Rahul played a huge role behind Punjab’s chase of 166-run target, scoring 67 off 55 deliveries as the Mohali-based franchise won the game with three balls to spare. However, things could’ve been slightly different had Rahul was given out in the penultimate over after KKR fielder Rahul Tripathi attempted a catch, but the third umpire ruled the decision in batsman’s favour.
It happened when Punjab needed 11 runs to win from 9 balls, and Rahul tried to smash a Shivam Mavi delivery towards the mid-wicket boundary. Tripathi, who was placed there, ran in to grab the ball while diving forward.
Assuming he had taken a clean catch, Tripathi started to celebrate along with other KKR fielders, but the decision was sent upstairs. After multiple replays from different angles, the third umpire looked uncertain and termed Rahul not out.
Many cricket experts were in shock at the decision as they were of the opinion that Tripathi had taken a clean catch. Former international cricketers Gautam Gambhir and Graeme Swann lambasted the third umpire for the shocking call.
“That was the worst piece of third umpiring I have ever seen,” said Swann on Star Sports‘ post-match show.
Gambhir also echoed Swann’s statement and said the umpire shouldn’t have seen the replay more than once as it looked clear out.
“That was a shocker, this can end someone’s campaign. He shouldn’t have seen the replay more than once; it just looked out. Even if they had got KL Rahul out, things would have been different. We cannot have these kinds of shockers in the IPL,” said Gambhir.
Former India opener Virender Sehwag also believed the catch was clean and should have been given out. Sehwag reckoned many times it appears the ball is touching the ground, but in Tripathi’s case, this was quite clear that the catch was taken cleanly.
“I also felt it was out, if this catch is not given out, many such catches which have been caught before gave an impression that the ball was touched on the ground, but surely not the case in this catch. I often say that the third umpire does make mistakes even after seeing a replay ten times,” said Sehwag on Cricbuzz Live.
Veteran South African cricketer Dale Steyn asserted that multiple replays create confusion and leave an impression off catch not being taken cleanly, but in real-time, the catch looks clean, and same happened with Tripathi.
“When they were showing it as a replay, they slowed it down, and I saw the ball press on the floor, and I thought that’s not out. Then I watched it in real-time, and he looked like he had it as he picked up his hand. When you slow things down long enough, you start finding things that are actually not there. I’m going with ‘Out’. I thought it was a clean catch, and he had his hands under the ball,” Steyn told ESPNcricinfo.
Even KKR skipper Eoin Morgan felt that it was a clean catch in regulation time. After the game, he said: “I thought in real-time that the Tripathi catch was out. But when you slow it down, the third umpire decides otherwise. We got on with it once he made his call.”