Riding on half-centuries from Yashasvi Jaiswal and Atharva Ankolekar followed by a stunning four-wicket haul by Kartik Tyagi, the defending champions India thumped Australia by 74 runs in the quarter-final clash of the Under-19 World Cup at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Tuesday.
Chasing a modest score of 233 for 9, the Aussie team had a disastrous start when they lost three in the first over off Tyagi, including a first-ball run out.
Sam Fanning along with wicketkeeper-batsman Patrick Rowe and Liam Scott did try to revive the chase but it was all in vain as the Indian bowlers worked in unison and kept the scoring and wickets in check. As a result, Australia was bundled out for 159 inside 44 overs.
However, despite a clinical performance delivered by Team India, there was a moment during the Australian run chase that made the watchers and fans from both the countries question India's 'Spirit of the Game'.
Australia was reeling at 30/4 when Sam Fanning chipped one of Sushant Mishra's deliveries to the mid-on region. Realising there was no chance for a single there, Fanning rushed back to the striker's end when the Indian fielder returned the throw at the stumps.
This was when the Australian opener raised his left arm to deflect the ball assumedly from injuring him but in doing so, he was also accused of obstructing the field.
According to the cricket rule book, Law 37.1.1 states: The batsman is out Obstructing the Field if "he/she wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action."
Under the same law, 37.2, however, a batsman cannot be adjudged out Obstructing the Field if the obstruction made by him or her is "accidental" or is in order to "avoid injury".
To clear the air, the on-field umpire went upstairs for review and Fanning was eventually adjudged not out. Was Fanning protecting himself from injury? Would Fanning survive anyway given the ball was way above the stumps and he was already back in the crease had he not touched the ball in the first place?
Was Indian appeal "uncalled for" and simply against the "spirit of the game"?
While the Men in Blue were well within their rights to appeal, a lot of questions arose from cricket fans on the microblogging site Twitter nonetheless.
More drama at #U19CWC with very ordinary indian appeal for obstructing field against oz bat just protecting himself from getting hit - rightly kyboshed by umpires. Spirit of cricket?— ron reed (@reedrw) January 28, 2020
Not out the correct decision here. Ball a mile away from the stumps and in any case, the batsman can't be out obstructing the field if avoiding injury. https://t.co/aRcFoKiNCP— Scott Pryde (@sk_pryde) January 28, 2020
Congrats to #India u19’s on their win over Australia but I have to say they did not play in the spirit of the game. The appeal for obstructing the field was disgraceful.— Jerry (@Jerrysportsgoat) January 28, 2020
Yep- can’t believe they even went upstairs for it. Aussie innings was calamitous though! 3 wickets in the first over including the worst run out I’ve seen in a very long time— Brett Hay (@brett_hay) January 28, 2020
That’s out.— Simon Thomas (@SimonWatcyn) January 28, 2020
Looks like he was in his crease— gags (@Brendan141986) January 28, 2020
What is your take on this?