Cricket fans baffled by “most stupid rule in any sport” after Big Bash wicket

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Neser initially threw the ball over the boundary rope
Neser initially threw the ball over the boundary rope

Cricket fans have been left fuming by the "stupid rule" that saw Michael Neser's bizarre catch be allowed to stand in the Brisbane Heat's bizarre win over the Sydney Sixers.

In pursuit of a huge 225 needed to win, the Sixers needed 26 off 11 balls when Jordan Silk heaved one towards the leg side boundary, and directly towards Neser. The former Australian Test match player initially did brilliantly to jump up and take the catch two-handed, but was clearly off balance as he stumbled towards the boundary rope.

What happened next almost defied belief, with Neser throwing the ball over the boundary. At that point, fans assumed a maximum was imminent only for Neser to skip over the rope, catch up with the ball and jump up in the air to gather it a second time.

Despite clearly being outside the boundary, Neser technically kept the ball alive by releasing it before his feet hit the floor. He then ran back in-bounds and completed the catch, immediately claiming the wicket whilst the Sixers were convinced they had six more to the total.

An umpire review favoured Neser, and correctly so by the letter of the law. But the debate didn't end there, with former Aussie Test star Marcus North one man to weigh in: "If this is within the rules of cricket then they need to change. No way that should be out. What’s the point of the boundary?" he asked.

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Cricket commentator Adam White also called for a change in regulations, tweeting: "Exceptional awareness and composure from Michael Neser. And out under the laws of the game. But it clearly shouldn’t be out under the rules of the game. Once a player is grounded outside the field of play, he should be out of the play"

Cricket fans baffled by “most stupid rule in any sport” after Big Bash wicketThe catch was awarded after Neser finally held onto it when back in play

Fans seemed to agree, with @AyrtonWoolley ranting: "Most stupid rule in any sport, ever. Was that changed to be that way a few years ago? Ridiculous," whilst @hofmanj924 responded to White with: "Absolutely correct, any other professional sport once you exit the field of play you are considered out of play."

Under the MCC Laws of Cricket though, umpires had little option, with Rule 19.4.2 reading: "The ball in play is to be regarded as being grounded beyond the boundary if a fielder, grounded beyond the boundary as in 19.5, touches the ball; or a fielder, after catching the ball within the boundary, becomes grounded beyond the boundary while in contact with the ball, before completing the catch.”

The Heat went on to run out winners by 15 runs, but still remain rooted to the bottom of the Big Bash table. The Sixers are third after a first defeat in five matches.

Fraser Watson

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