de Kock appeared to gesture that the throw might be going to the other end, which led Zaman to slow down
Fakhar Zaman took responsibility for the error of judgement in the moments leading up to his run-out, saying it was “my own fault” for not looking at the fielder. The Pakistan opener’s brilliant innings ended on 193, off the first ball of the final over of the match, when a direct hit from Aiden Markram from long-off caught him short of his crease at the striker’s end.
However, there was a debate surrounding the dismissal, with wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock appearing to gesture that the throw from Markram might be going to the non-striker’s end. Zaman slowed down considerably, believing his end wasn’t under attack, but the throw took him by surprise and put paid to his valiant knock.
If de Kock’s gesture was a deliberate misdirection, it would fall foul of the laws of the game, with the possibility of five penalty runs and the ball having to be re-bowled. Law 41.5.1 states that “it is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt, by word or action, to distract, deceive or obstruct either batsman after the striker has received the ball”.
Zaman, though, opted not to blame de Kock. “The fault was mine as I was too busy looking out for Haris Rauf at the other end as I felt he’d started off a little late from his crease, so I thought he was in trouble. The rest is up to the match referee, but I don’t think it’s Quinton’s fault.”
Zaman’s conciliatory remarks might go some way to taking scrutiny off the umpires, who appeared not to see anything untoward in de Kock’s actions. In the celebrations that followed, de Kock seemed to acknowledge his gestures might have confused the batsman, but establishing with certainty the South African’s intentions might be difficult. He might just as easily have been asking Markram to throw the ball at the non-striker’s end.
In the final over, Pakistan needed 31 to win. Had this incident been deemed a case of deliberate distraction, it would have left Pakistan requiring 24 from six balls. They eventually fell short by 17.
That wasn’t the only point of contention towards the closing stages. In the 47th over, South Africa captain Temba Bavuma dropped Zaman, only for the ball to strike his hat, which had fallen off his head. The umpires didn’t award any penalty runs, which is in line with the law. Law 28.2.2 states that it is “not illegal fielding if the ball in play makes contact with a piece of clothing, equipment or any other object which has accidentally fallen from the fielder’s person.”
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000