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Controversy erupted in the BBL finals on Sunday night after a low catch to dismiss Usman Khawaja left fans and commentators heavily divided.
Khawaja was dismissed in contentious circumstances in the Adelaide Strikers' win over Sydney Thunder after Fawad Ahmed claimed a low catch and the third umpire upheld the on-field 'soft signal' of out.
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Khawaja cut a ball to Fawad at backward point, who dived forward and appeared to get his fingers under the ball before it hit the ground.
However replays clearly showed the ball brushing the turf despite the prescence of Fawad's fingers.
Under ICC laws, the ball cannot touch the ground at any point during a catch attempt regardless of whether it is in a fielder's hands.
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) January 23, 2022
But on-field umpire Donovan Koch's soft signal was out, and television umpire Ben Treloar agreed with after much deliberation.
During an interview with Channel 7 during the telecast, Khawaja maintained he was "100 per cent" not out.
"I thought at the end of the day the soft signal cost me," he said.
"It looked like a blade of glass 100 per cent touched the ball ... it looked like it bounced to me. I don't agree with it, but I have to accept it."
But Strikers captain Alex Carey, who had an ideal view of it, gave Fawad his backing.
"He's a pretty honest guy," he said.
"It's a tough one to overrule, I think. Those are really hard ones ... as a fielder, you absolutely think you catch it.
"I thought he was pretty clean and it looked like he got the finger under it."
Cricket world divided over Usman Khawaja dismissal
Speaking in commentary for Fox Sports, former England captain Michael Vaughan said: “I don’t think he got enough of his hand under that ball.
“I’ve never been a huge fan of the soft signal, I’d rather just used the technology.”
“It has always been a talking point since they brought in the soft signal whether it is right or wrong and on this occasion it went against Usman.
"It went against the Thunder. I’ve never really been a great fan of the soft signal just use the technology.”
But on Channel 7, Ricky Ponting said he believed the law was wrong and the catch was fair.
“You can see when Fawad Ahmed comes up just how spread open wide his fingers were,” he said.
“I’m concerned the ball hit his hand on the full. It hit his hand first. The ball didn’t bounce before his fingers.
“The rule states when your fingers spread wide like that, any part of the ball, even though it has gone in your hand first, if any part of that ball hits the ground it is actually not out. But I actually think it should be out. I think it is out.”
Fans were also left fuming on social media.
Is there a poll where I can vote Khawaja was not out? #BBL
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) January 23, 2022
— Erin Holland (@erinvholland) January 23, 2022
That's not out and a terrible decision. Forget this 'fingers under the ball' garbage - if he's another foot of the ground, he's dropping it as it blows through his finger tips.
— Gavin Phillips (@SeedyGav) January 23, 2022
Not out. Bad decision if you ask me. Should be in favour of the batsmen when there is a doubt.
— Amanda Primrose (@StreamlinedOrg) January 23, 2022
How on earth can it be given out if any of the art of the ball touches the grass.
— David O'Connor (@DavidOC24102848) January 23, 2022
Terrible decision ... way to ruin a game.
— Darryl Ferreira (@darryljferreira) January 23, 2022
The incident derailed the Thunder's valiant run chase, which ended up six runs short despite a dynamic 90-run, third-wicket stand between Jason Sangha (61) and Alex Ross (56).
With 14 required off the final over, Harry Conway took 2-7, including the key wicket of Ross, to nervelessly seal the rampaging Strikers' club-record sixth consecutive win.
It booked a fairytale berth in the Challenger final against the Sydney Sixers on Australia Day, with the winners going on to play the Perth Scorchers in the decider on Friday.
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