IPL 2021: Rahul Tripathi controversial catch on KL Rahul, Punjab Kings defeat Kolkata Knight Riders, cricket news


The Punjab Kings have kept their finals hopes alive in controversial circumstances, with an umpiring decision dividing the cricket world.

Punjab Kings have defeated the Kolkata Knight Riders to keep their finals hopes alive, albeit in controversial circumstances.

An umpiring decision in the penultimate over of Friday night’s Indian Premier League clash in Dubai has divided the cricket world and reignited debate about the “soft signal”.

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The Kings required 11 off 10 balls for victory when Punjab captain KR Rahul swatted a delivery from Indian young gun Shivam Mavi towards the mid-wicket boundary. Kolkata fielder Rahul Tripathi steamed in from the boundary rope, diving forward to seemingly take a classy catch millimetres from the turf.

However, on-field umpires were uncertain whether Tripathi had taken the catch cleanly, sending the decision upstairs. A lengthy review followed, with third umpire Anil Dandekar consulting several camera angles of Tripathi’s catch in slow motion.

Importantly, there are no soft signals in the IPL this season, meaning the TV umpire had to make the final decision on his own. Soft signals refer to the decision indicated by the on-field umpires when something is being reviewed. If the third umpire is in doubt, he can revert back to the “soft signal”.

Dandekar eventually opted not to award the dismissal after one angle suggested the ball had bounced before Tripathi completed the catch.

To rub salt into the wounds, Rahul slapped a boundary later in the over to make the equation five runs needed from six balls.

“I don’t know what the soft signal was,” former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar said in commentary.

“There was no soft signal. This to me, is out.”

Four-time Ashes winner Kevin Pietersen agreed: “I think so too, Sunny. His momentum through the ball, he caught the ball. His fingers were underneath that ball, you can see from some of those replays.”

West Indies legend Ian Bishop continued: “From my perspective it looks out to me. I would say his fingers are underneath that.”

Speaking on Star Sports, former England spin bowler Graeme Swann called it “the worst piece of third umpiring I have ever seen”.

Former Indian batter Gautam Gambhir agreed, saying: “That was a shocker, this can end someone‘s campaign. He shouldn’t have seen the replay more than once, it just looked out. Even if they had got KL Rahul out, things would have been different. We cannot have these kinds of shockers in the IPL.”

Kolkata captain Eoin Morgan said after the match: “I thought in real-time that the Tripathi catch was out. But when you slow it down, the third umpire decides otherwise. We got on with it once he made his call.”

New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham tweeted: “Fingers under the ball.”

Indian broadcaster Harsha Bhogle wrote on Twitter: “When they did away with the soft signal, this was a scenario waiting to unfold. You have to balance the inexact judgment of an umpire’s soft signal for a catch in the deep with the fact that it will always be ruled not out on a replay.

“That is the reason I was in favour of the soft signal and willing to live with the possible error in the deep. Today, Rahul was out, anyone who has worked long enough knows it was out with the fingers underneath the ball but the 3rd umpire has to have conclusive proof which he will never have unless you have a ground level camera.

“You have to go with an umpire’s instinct until he is conclusively proven wrong which is why you have different levels of tolerance on the umpire’s call. Till technology is 100 per cent certain, you go with the umpire.”

Punjab ultimately chased the 166-run target with three balls to spare. Rahul was awarded Player of the Match for his classy 67 off 55 balls, which featured four boundaries and two sixes.

Meanwhile, Australian seamer Nathan Ellis had a forgettable day in the field, conceding 46 runs during his four-over spell.

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