Cricket fans have reacted with astonishment after Australia faced a five-ball over in their victory against Afghanistan in a blunder that could have cost them the match and their spot in the T20 World Cup.
A late cameo from Glenn Maxwell helped Australia put up a decent total to defeat Afghanistan by just four runs in Adelaide on Friday night, making 8-168 and holding the visitors to 7-164.
But the narrow margin was not enough for Australia to overtake England's net run rate. If England beat Sri Lanka on Saturday night, they will join New Zealand as their group's semi-finalists and Australia's title defence will be over - and captain Aaron Finch's international career will likely come to an end too.
However, the drama started in the fourth over. The umpires and officials called an end to the over after five balls when Australia were batting in the first innings.
An extra ball was counted on the scoreboard when David Warner and Mitchell Marsh ran an overthrow on the fourth delivery.
The broadcast showed Australia ran two, then it awarded three runs for delivery five (but a ball hadn't been bowled).
The score was later corrected, but the over was still called after five deliveries.
With Australia's hopes relying on net run rate, only also only winning by four runs, every single delivery was vital for the defending champions' chances of progressing to the knockout stages.
This prompted a strong reaction from cricket fans who couldn't believe such a blunder could occur during a T20 World Cup.
How is it possible there can be a five-ball over in international cricket? Totally unacceptable. The only thing fair from here is Afghanistan also only gets five balls in its fourth over. #T20WorldCup
— Adam White (@White_Adam) November 4, 2022
Just had a re-watch, this is bizarre.
Ball 3.4 the one in question.
Aussies took 2 then got another on the overthrow.
Was put down as two runs off 3.4 and three runs off 3.5.
Only five deliveries in the over. Very weird. #T20WorldCup https://t.co/3oCdzzwix4
— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) November 4, 2022
It feels a bit odd that the five-ball over hasn't been mentioned once on the broadcast.
— Daniel Cherny (@DanielCherny) November 4, 2022
There was a five ball over, what kind of umpiring is happening in this world cup, 3.4 over they run 3 runs on the overthrow but it was given as 3.4 (2 runs) and 3.5 (3 runs), this is not good
— चंडाल🪂 (@chandal_hoon) November 4, 2022
— Thilak Ramamurthy (@Thilak_Rama) November 4, 2022
Fortunately, despite Rashid Khan's best efforts with the bat, Australia won their vital T20 clash.
However, the net run rate will now not save Australia with the nation hoping Sri Lanka cause an upset and defeat England so they can progress to the knockout stages.
Australia's T20 World Cup hopes hanging by a thread
The Australians needed to bowl the Afghans out for 106 or less to overtake England on net run rate.
"We didn't really talk about it," Maxwell said of that goal, which disappeared in the 16th over.
"We just tried to stick to our game plan as much as we possibly could.
"We thought if we bowled well enough and created chances by building pressure ... hopefully our experience prevails and our skill execution can be good enough."
New Zealand (seven points, net run rate 2.113) top the group with Australia (seven points, minus 0.173) now second.
An England triumph will also lift them to seven points but they already boast a net run rate of 0.547.
Injured skipper Finch, already retired from one-day internationals, is tipped to also call stumps on his career in the shortest format, with Australia's next T20 fixtures not until August next year in South Africa.
Finch was a nervy spectator as Afghan hero Rashid Khan threatened to end Australia's cup hopes on Friday night.
After the Afghans lost 4-3 to be 6-103 in the 15th over, Rashid cracked four sixes and three fours in smashing 48no from 23 balls.
The visitors required 21 from Stoinis' last over but Rashid fell just shy of producing a sporting miracle.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.