Michael Neser’s spectacular juggling boundary catch in the Big Bash League on Sunday sparked a huge debate over whether it was a legitimate dismissal or a six.
When Jordan Silk carved Mark Steketee high towards the extra-cover boundary in the Sydney Sixers’ game with the Brisbane Heat, Neser took the catch and tripped over the rope.
As he did so, he tried to flick the ball back but only succeeded in deflecting it over the rope where he was forced to juggle again with his feet in the air before taking a catch in the field of play.
Michael Neser (centre) takes a controversial catch in Brisbane’s win over the Sixers
The TV umpire reviewed the dismissal and ruled it out, with Neser’s feet not touching the floor outside the ropes when he had the ball in hand.
Neser told 7Cricket: ‘I know [Matt] Renshaw did this a few years ago. I don’t know if they changed the rules so I thought I’d give it a crack. It’s a good thing they haven’t changed the rules.’
The catch sparked a huge debate about the laws of the game, with many people believing it was the maximum and not the end of Silk’s 41 off 23 balls in the Sixers’ chase of 225.
Neser makes first contact with the ball down the field as he tries to keep it from going for six
He then flicked it through the air as he strode across the boundary line to catch it
He then leaps into the air as he juggles the ball through the air and back onto the field
Before turning his back on the boundary line to finally pick up the ball and complete the catch
‘He didn’t touch the ball when he touched the ball outside [the boundary rope],’ said Adam Gilchrist on Fox Cricket.
But fellow commentator Mark Howard had a different take on the incident: ‘So tell me you can just keep juggling it across the border, do three laps?’
Sydney Thunder star Chris Green chimed in with Gilchrist’s thoughts.
‘Incredible catch! Big moment in the game from Neser,’ he tweeted.
In a follow-up tweet, he added: ‘[Glenn] Maxwell explained the rule well in Seven take the catch in the field of play, as long as you are off the ground when the ball is in hand over the rope and you return to the rope when you have completed the catch then it is gone. ‘
Sydney Thunder star Chris Green felt Neser’s catch was legitimate
He then explained to a fan why he thought the umpire was right in upholding the decision
Under law 19.4.2 under the MCC Laws of Cricket:
‘The ball in play shall be considered grounded out of bounds if a fielder, grounded out of bounds as in 19.5, touches the ball.
‘A fielder, after catching the ball inside the boundary, becomes grounded beyond the boundary while making contact with the ball, before completing the catch.’
Importantly, while Neser made contact with the ball that bounced out of bounds, he was not considered grounded beyond the bounds. because his first contact with the ball was in play.
Neser’s catch was invaluable for the Heat but sparked a heated debate in world cricket
WHAT IS THE CONTROVERSIAL RULE?
Under law 19.4.2 under the MCC Laws of Cricket:
‘The ball in play shall be considered grounded out of bounds if
– A fielder, grounded beyond the boundary as in 19.5, touches the ball.
– A fielder, after catching the ball inside the boundary, becomes grounded beyond the boundary while making contact with the ball, before completing the catch.
However, many fans didn’t see it coming.
‘Michael neser is at least 2-3m over the rope when he jumps to throw the ball, this is literally every sense of the six. if we give it away, the players can stand on top of the rope and throw the ball again,’ Tweeted one viewer.
‘Hitting the ball out of bounds with your feet on the ground is a six,’ writes Craig Cook.
‘I’m sorry that was a joke of a rule and signed 20 players to stand behind the ropes and throw the ball back! That’s a 6,’ added Ray Bird.
‘So Neser can stand there for 10 minutes jumping on the ground and throwing the ball in the air! A ridiculous interpretation of the rule!!’ written by Jason Nichol.
That’s a 6, both his feet planted outside the boundary rope as he flicks it back into play. There’s absolutely no way it should go out,’ says Raymond Griffiths.
‘Anyone who says there is no more is a real fool. Nothing will change my mind that six. Once the fielder makes contact with the floor out of bounds they are out of the field of play. It’s a big difference to jumping from inside the boundary,’ argued Tim Davies.
Brisbane won a thriller by 15 runs after Josh Brown stole the show with a whirlwind innings to score 62 off just 23 balls in the Heat’s 5-224.
The Sixers mounted a spirited response in their pursuit of the BBL record run chase, but did not get all from the last delivery for 209.
Josh Brown smashed 62 off just 23 deliveries as Brisbane Heat posted 5-224 on Sunday
The Heat needed something special to get their season going and Brown provided it in front of 23,689 fans while using a bat he made himself.
He brought up his fifty off just 19 deliveries, equaling the fifth-fastest in Heat history in his second BBL game and hitting a strikerate of 269.57, clearing the boundary six times with a flurry of scintillating strokes .
Brown’s exciting innings was matched by Nathan McSweeney, who joined the 29-year-old in the team for the game against the Sixers.
McSweeney plundered 84 runs off 51 balls before being run out.