Premature celebration or 'dead ball' ignored by umpire? WBBL match takes a bizarre 'superover' route

WBBL 2017-18 took a controversial turn when Syndey Sixers sneaked a single despite the dead ball

The Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) 2017-18 match between Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Renegades took a bizarre turn in the last over. The controversy regarding the last ball of the innings has caused a full-blown war between the people who have supported the umpire’s decision and vice versa.

But before we get into the details of the matter, let’s understand what exactly happened on the last ball of Sydney’s innings.

Melbourne posted a total of 120 runs on the board in the first innings. Chasing a target of 121 runs, Sydney were 6 for 114 after 19 overs with just 7 runs to win the match from 6 balls. As a result of good bowling from Amy Satterthwaite, Sarah Aley needed to score 3 runs off the last ball of the innings.

All Aley could do was work the ball towards fine leg and take a single. As soon as the Melbourne wicketkeeper Emma Inglis collected the ball she started celebrating. The ball seemed dead at the moment as both the batsmen had planted their bats on their respective creases.

Aley was quick to respond as she sneaked a quick single as Inglis and her teammates were busy celebrating prematurely as the umpire did not signal dead ball. She was stunned when she came to know that the match has been tied and the winner will be now be decided by superover.

Here’s the video of the incident:

Followers of the league were divided in their opinion as a few believed that the ball was ‘dead’ and the run was illegal while others felt that Aley was right in taking the second run. Here are the divided reactions on Twitter and Facebook:

However, Melbourne had the last laugh as they were able to chase down the target on 9 runs. Melbourne got off to a good start in both the innings of the superover. They picked up the wicket on the first ball and Jess Duffin scored a boundary off the first ball of their innings to relieve the pressure.

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Had the result of the match gone the other way round there would have been chances of a bigger controversy.

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Author’s take: In the end, I can say that justice was served. It was not premature of the wicketkeeper to celebrate early but the batsman’s fault to try and take a single even when the ball is dead.