T20 WC: Here is why India were awarded 3-byes even after Virat Kohli’s dismissal off free-hit against Pakistan

Virat Kohli let his emotions pouring forth after playing one of his best T20I knocks as India edge past Pakistan by 4 wickets in their Super 12 encounter at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 on Sunday.

“I have no idea how it happened. Standing here feels like it was meant to be. This is my best innings. I will count this innings higher than Mohali one. The crowd has been phenomenal. You guys have supported me and shown so much love. I am very grateful for such support,” Kohli said after his match-winning performance at the MCG.

However, the last-ball thriller wasn’t bereft of controversy. Firstly, India all-rounder Axar Patel’s run out decision during India’s chase created a stir among the fans as many believed that Pakistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan dislodged the bails off his gloves. Secondly, on the fourth delivery of the final over, Kohli hit a maximum off Mohammad Nawaz when the Men in Blue needed 13 runs off three balls; seconds later, the leg-umpire called it a ‘no ball’ due to height and a free-hit was given to the batter. This made Pakistan team supporters losing their calm.

While Nawaz’s next delivery was adjudged ‘wide’, he succeeded in castling Kohli on ‘free-hit’. The former India skipper and his partner Dinesh Karthik ran three runs as the ball diverted after hitting the stumps. Soon, Pakistan players including captain Babar Azam had a long chat with the umpires on why the three runs were added to India’s total when the batter was clean bowled off a free-hit.

As per what the commentators were heard saying during the scene, Pakistan team wanted the delivery to be referred to as a ‘dead ball’ because it struck the stumps.

MCC Laws of Cricket support umpire’s decision

According to the MCC Laws of Cricket, a ball can only become dead when “it is finally settled in the hands of the wicketkeeper or of the bowler”, or when “a boundary is scored.”

The ball can also be called a dead ball when “a batter is dismissed. The ball will be deemed to be dead from the instant of the incident causing the dismissal.”

The law – 20.1.1 – states the other different ways of declaring a ball dead, including the times when the umpire has the authority on the decision. With regards to ball hitting the stumps, the umpire can call the ball dead when “one or both bails fall from the striker’s wicket before the striker has had the opportunity of playing the ball.”

And in free-hit, there are only four modes of dismissals allowed – handled the ball, hit the ball twice, obstructing the field and run out – and hence, India were awarded three byes as the ball was still in play.

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