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Pakistan vs Zimbabwe 2020, 2nd ODI – DRS

Haider Ali’s debut ODI innings was going well until it was cut short by what, according to replays, would appear to be a TV umpiring error.

The dismissal was a point of interest in an otherwise routine game with little drama. Pakistan got on top early in the second ODI against Zimbabwe, never relinquishing control, and running down a small target on a good batting surface with consummate ease. But the decision that ended Haider’s innings on 29 – and the process that led to it – raised several questions.

In the 22nd over, with Pakistan sitting pretty on 137 for 2, requiring 70 more for a series-sealing triumph, Haider tried to lap Sean Williams to fine leg. He missed, and the ball hit his pads. On-field umpire Aleem Dar had little hesitation in raising the finger.

The batsman immediately reviewed and front-on slow-motion replays appeared to show the path of the ball deviating after it went past Haider’s bat, onto the pads – apparently off Haider’s gloves. Third umpire Ahsan Raza requested UltraEdge, though the technology showed no obvious spike at the moment slow-motion replays appeared to show a deflection.

After lengthy and repeated side-by-side replays, Raza finally decided to go with UltraEdge, ruling that Haider must not have hit it. HawkEye went on to show the ball hitting the stumps, which meant the on-field decision of lbw had to stand. Haider was sent on his way, shaking his head.

Though the technology is not thought to have failed, DRS playing condition 3.3.7 states that if it does “for whatever reason, the third umpire shall advise the on-field umpire of this fact but still provide any relevant factual information that may be ascertained from the available television replays and other technology”. The preceding conditions say that “if despite the available technology, the third umpire is unable to decide with a high degree of confidence whether the original on-field decision should be changed, then he/she shall report that the replays are ‘inconclusive’, and that the on-field decision shall stand”.

That wasn’t the only awkward moment for the third umpire in what turned out to be a tricky afternoon. When Mohammad Rizwan was beaten and bowled by a Sikandar Raza delivery, the on-field umpires referred the matter to the TV umpire, just to confirm that Zimbabwe’s wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor hadn’t knocked the bails off with his gloves. He hadn’t – conclusively – and while Raza appeared to make his mind up quickly, it was the “not out” sign that flashed on the big screen, much to everyone’s bemusement. After a short delay, the right call was made, and Rizwan was on his way.

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