With only two required for India to win and three required for Virat Kohli to get to his 78th international hundred, Bangladesh left-arm spinner Nasum Ahmed bowled a delivery that whizzed past the batter’s pads down leg to thud into the wicketkeeper’s gloves.
The on-field umpire, Richard Kettleborough, however, didn’t deem the delivery wide, as he may have felt that Kohli had shuffled a tad away from the direction of the ball. If the Indian batter had stayed put, it could have struck him on the pads.
The umpire’s decision ultimately provided Kohli with an additional opportunity to get to his 48th ODI century. He is now one ton away from equaling Sachin Tendulkar’s record in the 50-over format.
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According to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of the Laws of Cricket, “A ball will be considered as passing wide of the striker unless it is sufficiently within reach for him/her to be able to hit it with the bat by means of a normal cricket stroke.”
But the rules also add, “The umpire shall not adjudge a delivery as being a Wide, if the striker, by moving, either causes the ball to pass wide of him/her.”
An expert on the official broadcaster’s post-match show, Deep Dasgupta, later quipped, “Virat Kohli got to his hundred with a little help from KL Rahul and then the umpire.”
Even Kuldeep Yadav, Kohli’s teammate, saw the funny side of things as he laughed gleefully in the dugout when the wide appeals from the Bangladesh players fell on deaf ears.
Former international umpire Vinayak Kulkarni said, “Normal wide in one-day cricket is any ball pitching outside the leg-stump and going down is wide. But it comes with a rider. Had the striker not moved and had the ball hit him, it wouldn’t be wide though it goes down the leg.
“In simple terms, a striker cannot make a ball wide by moving. Had Kohli not moved (inside a little) to the off-side for that delivery, in the opinion of the umpire, the ball would have hit him. And, if a ball hits a person, then there’s no question of wide,” said Kulkarni.
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