Was umpire Paul Reiffel right in backing out from the wide call against SRH? Here’s what the rule says

MS Dhoni
(Photo Source: Disney + Hotstar VIP)

The match between the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), on Tuesday, October 13, at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, was marred with a minor controversy. It happened during the fag of SRH’s innings when David Warner and Co were chasing 168 to win. Shardul Thakur was the bowler and the Orange Army needed 25 runs off 11 balls.

The speedster bowled a wide yorker, but Rashid Khan failed to make a connection. However, the delivery seemed to be a wide, and umpire Paul Reiffel, quite expectantly, went to stretch his arms out to signal the ‘wide’. But to the surprise of many, he didn’t give the wide and rather backed out. MS Dhoni and Thakur signalled to the umpire that the batter might have moved.

From the SRH team dugout, Warner wasn’t a happy man by any stretch of the imagination. To add insult to injury, the Sunrisers lost the match by 20 runs and stayed at the fifth position in the points table. Thakur conceded only five runs in the over and it turned out to be crucial in the context of the match. Dwayne Bravo sealed the deal off in the final over with all his experience.

Was Paul Reiffel correct?

Now the question is was Reiffel correct in backing out? As per the law, Reiffel wasn’t wrong as an umpire is allowed to change his decision if he does it promptly.

Section 2.12 of the IPL match playing condition says:

“Umpire’s decision: An umpire may alter any decision provided that such alteration is made promptly. This apart, an umpire’s decision, once made, is final.”

Thereafter, Rashid was caught by Deepak Chahar. Interestingly, he also managed to hit the wicket off his foot in the same delivery. Though it wouldn’t have made a whole lot of difference, the dismissal was marked as hit-wicket when it ideally should have been caught.

Section 33.5 (Caught to take precedence) of the IPL match playing conditions read: “If the criteria of clause 33.1 are met and the striker is not out Bowled, then he is out Caught, even though a decision against either batsman for another method of dismissal would be justified.”

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