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June 10, 2009 T20 World Cup: Angelo Mathews’ boundary-line save prompts MCC review of save
Sri Lanka and West Indies were playing at Trent Bridge. The Lankans had asked the West Indies batters to chase down a daunted total of 193 runs.
16 overs into the innings, West Indies was 134/4 with Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo on the crease. 59 runs needed off 24 runs and the audience awaited the climax of the nail-biter clash.
Sarwan faced the first ball of the 17th and pulled Mendis’ delivery with the intent to clear the boundary. Stationed at the long on boundary was Angelo Mathews. He caught the ball but couldn’t help falling over across the boundary rope.
Quick thinking from the all-rounder saw him throw the ball into the air and prevent West Indies from getting six runs. Mathews, however, realised that the ball he had flung upwards was about to fall outside the boundary.
All this effort would have yielded nothing. Mathews quickly turned, repositioned himself, and dove across to parry the ball into the playing area. The nearly three-seconds-long chain of events made for an eye-catching sequence. A moment straight out of Matrix.
Mathews’ acrobatic abilities and the cameraman’s skill were equally depicted to the audience.
Following this, the match was brought to a temporary halt. Umpire Billy Bowden had a long consultation with the third umpire and West Indies got just three runs out of the delivery.
Later, the Marylebone Cricket Club, too, approved of the save stating that Mathews’ technique to prevent the ball from crossing the boundary was within the laws of the game.
The MCC cited rule 19.3 for the incident. The law states that the boundary will be given to the batting side if “the ball touches the boundary, or is grounded beyond the boundary or 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.”
Since Mathews was completely airborne while securing the ball into the playing field, his effort was termed legal.
According to the latest laws of Cricket, the rule that governs the issue is 19.5.2. It states: “A fielder who is not in contact with the ground is considered to be grounded beyond the boundary if his/her final contact with the ground, before his/her first contact with the ball after it has been delivered by the bowler, was not entirely within the boundary.”
Sri Lanka went on to win the match by 15 runs and both teams made it to the Super Eight phase of the tournament.