Image Source : GETTY Ottneil Baartman celebrates Mahmudullah’s dismissal but the Bangladesh batter was given not out on DRS

South Africa continued their charge in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as they ended their New York leg with three wins in as many matches and now have one foot in the door towards the Super 8 stage. South Africa despite not getting their lengths correct on that surface at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, were able to defend a low score of 113 runs as Bangladesh fell short by just four. However, a cricket rule by MCC (Marylbone Cricket Club), the law-making body of the sport, had a bit of a role to play in the result.

On the second ball of the 16th over, Ottneil Baartman trapped a set Mahmudullah LBW in front of the wickets and the umpire Richard Illingworth raised his finger to many’s surprise as the ball seemed to be going down the leg in realtime. Meanwhile, as the umpire was raising his finger, the ball trickled down to the boundary for four leg-byes.

Mahmudullah was quick to consult the third umpire and use the DRS. The replays showed that the ball was pitching in line, the impact too was in the line of the stumps but would go on to miss the stumps down the leg. The Nassau County Stadium echoed with boos, the skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto in the dugout was unhappy and animated, not just because the on-field call from the umpire was poor but that it resulted in the team getting denied four leg-byes.

As per MCC Law for a dead ball, “The ball becomes dead when a batter is dismissed. The ball will be deemed to be dead from the instant of the incident causing the dismissal.”

Hence, the ball became dead as soon as the umpire raised his finger. So, it didn’t matter whether the batter was eventually adjuticated out or not. Even if it had hit the bat and the umpire gave it out, the runs earned on that delivery would stand null and void and that rule probably came to haunt Bangladesh as they ended up four runs short eventually.

Bangladesh needed 26 off 23 balls at that point and even though Towhid Hridoy got a boundary in the same over and the equation came down to 20 off 19, that rule did play its part in the Shanto-led side falling short. Kagiso Rabada and Keshav Maharaj eventually won it for South Africa but the rule became a huge topic of debate, with many including cricketers like Wasim Jaffer calling it for it to be changed by the ICC given it could potentially cost a team in the semi-final or a final and hence the trophy.

It already played a decisive role in the result of the match and a few rules with gray areas have been changed in the past, whether it was the boundary count after the 2019 World Cup final or runs on clean bowled on a free hit after the India vs Pakistan, T20 World Cup 2022 match. Would this match force ICC to look at the dead ball rule on dismissal?