Steve Smith continued where he left off in the BBL on Friday night, blasting 61 off 42 balls as the Sydney Sixers beat the Melbourne Renegades by eight runs in their opening game. However the match didn't come without controversy, with fans and commentators believing the Sixers were wrongly awarded four more runs than they should have.
After making the team of the tournament last season despite only playing five games, Smith continued his blistering BBL form as an opener with another half century. The Aussie star's innings led the Sixers to 6-175, and the Renegades could only muster 7-167 in response.
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However many believed the Sixers should have had four runs taken off their total after Jono Wells took a superb catch in the deep before throwing it back into the field of play and tumbling over the boundary. It looked as though Wells had restricted the Sixers to two runs in the process, but the third umpire believed he saw Wells' foot on the boundary while he was holding the ball - awarding the Sixers six runs as a result.
However fans and commentators disagreed and thought the Renegades had been dudded. Ricky Ponting said on Channel 7: "I must admit, it looked fine to me. I couldn't see the boundary rope move at all. It looked like he actually got it out before his elbow touched the ground on the other side of the rope.
"I reckon they are going to say his foot was touching the bottom of it there. They zoomed right in on his right foot, I reckon. I think there is a little bit of gap. That seems a bit harsh."
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) December 8, 2023
AFL legend Kevin Sheehan wrote on social media: “I love my cricket and do understand the current rules on catching inside the rope but this brilliant catch inside the field of play by Jono Wells tonight should be out!!! Decision and current rule is outrageous! Control ball in field of play enough for me!!!”
Another TV viewer posted: "That seems like a wrong decision. Not sure what footage the third umpire was watching but it wasn’t the same as what was on the TV.” And another wrote: “Garbage decision. That’s was a tremendous piece of fielding from Jono Wells, and there was nothing conclusive to say his foot touched the rope.”
6? It was caught!!!
WTF is up with cricket???
— James Klobasa (@jamesklobasa) December 8, 2023
3rd umpire shouldn't need a guide dog.
No way did his foot touch the line.
No way known.
— W.A.Dad (@grazinggoat66) December 8, 2023
Ridiculous home town decision to call that a 6
— Matt Sullivan (@MattSull67) December 8, 2023
Terrible decision Sydney biased
— Darren (@darrene9809) December 8, 2023
Agree completely. The law should be changed
— Matt Healy (@quasii73) December 8, 2023
Ridiculous, batsman scores a six when the ball never once went outside the field of play 🤷♂️
— Brenton gale (@brenton_gale) December 8, 2023
Cricket world in awe of Steve Smith's latest BBL heroics
In the end the extra four runs didn't prove the difference as the Sixers won by eight. But it might have changed the mindset of the Renegades when they needed 22 off the final over rather than 18.
Ben Dwarshuis bowled Tom Rogers with the first ball of the deciding over before conceding a six to all-rounder Will Sutherland, who made 51 not out. Jordan Silk then produced an incredible piece of fielding to save another Sutherland boundary, who was left needing 10 off the final two balls.
But he swung and missed at a brilliant slower-ball from Dwarshuis on the penultimate delivery to seal the win for the Sixers. Smith was named man-of-the-match for his latest brilliant cameo in the BBL - which came less than a week before the first Test against Pakistan in Perth.
"It's good to have your Australian players play whenever they can," Smith said afterwards. "It helps grow the tournament, I've always tried to come back every chance I've had."
Smith is hoping to play one more game for the Sixers this summer - on January 12 against the Thunder. That game falls between separate three-match Test series against Pakistan and the West Indies.
That is absolutely class from Smudge
— Lubana Warriors (@LovepreetS49) December 8, 2023
— Sport360° (@Sport360) December 8, 2023
Steve Smith gets to 1000 runs in BBL
1000 Runs + 40 Average + 140 SR in BBL:
End of list
Haters silenced, legends crowning. pic.twitter.com/Oia8S7hkDs
— Rafi Sikder (@rafi_sikder17) December 8, 2023
— Cartoon Cricket Council (@cccseries) December 8, 2023
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