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Sunday Apr 04 2021
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Did Quinton de Kock deliberately distract Fakhar Zaman before he got run out? Social media thinks so

Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman (R) reacts after being run out South Africa's Aiden Markram (not visible) as South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock (L) looks on during the second one-day international (ODI) cricket match between South Africa and Pakistan at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on April 4, 2021. — AFP

It wasn’t the end Fakhar Zaman wanted after smashing South African bowlers all-over the ground and scoring an almost match-winning knock of 193 in Johannesburg on Sunday.

The opening batsman was run out while coming for a second run as he slowed down, apparently assuming that ball was heading towards the other end, before realising that ball was coming towards the end he is running at.

A TV replay showed that it was probably not just a misunderstanding and, in fact, the South African wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock made an attempt to distract Fakhar with his actions (suggesting the ball is going towards other end) and that possibly convinced Fakhar that he was running towards a safe end.

Also read: South Africa beat Pakistan by 17 runs, level ODI series

Pakistani cricket fans and former cricketers have expressed their displeasure at the incident suggesting that the dismissal should have been struck off with five penalty runs and an extra delivery awarded to the chasing side under law 45.5.1 of the game.

Law 41.5.1 states that “it is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt, by word or action, to distract, deceive or obstruct either batsman after the striker has received the ball”. In addition, clause 41.5.2 says that “It is for either one of the umpires to decide whether any distraction, deception or obstruction is wilful or not.”

Pakistan’s renowned statistician Mazher Arshad hinted on twitter that Fakhar Zaman should’ve been not out.

“Quinton de Kock was cheeky with that Fakhar Zaman run out. But it is interesting that the umps didn't see it as a fake fielding. It will be an interesting debate,” Arshad noted.

“As far as I understand this law, Fakhar Zaman should have been not out and Pakistan [should] have been awarded 5 penalty runs,” he added while highlighting ICC’s rules.

Pakistan’s former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar started a poll on Twitter asking if Quinton de Kock’s action were against spirit of the game and in the first 60 minutes, over 71% voters suggested that it was against the spirit of sports.

Even West Indies cricketer Shane Rutherford weighed in saying it was a "cheeky" move and "not a good gesture from de Kock. "Very hurt from this act," he added.

Rutherford further questioned whether such a move is "allowed", under the rules of the ICC.

"Seriously. I don't know but I am shocked. Please don't do that with a gentleman's game," he wrote.

Nevertheless, Fakhar’s innings will be remembered as one of the finest and greatest in ODIs, specially in run chases.

The debate over ICC laws will, probably, continue for the next few days.