The Indian Premier League (IPL) Final turned out as just the type of classic it was expected to be. Mumbai Indians led by Rohit Sharma found a way to defend just nine runs in the last over of the innings and secured their fourth title.
But the biggest talking point that emerged from the match was not the individual brilliance of any one player but the decision of the third umpire to give Mahendra Singh Dhoni run out at a crucial stage of the game.
There is an intense debate on social media about whether Dhoni's bat was behind the line when the bails were dislodged or not. The problem with making the decision was the fact that one angle showed the former India captain clearly not having his bat behind the line when the bails get dislodged while the other was blocked by a fielder. After deliberating for a long time, the TV umpire eventually decided that Dhoni was out. This wicket, arguably, turned the match in MI's favour.
Many CSK fans have argued that the bails need to be completely dislodged before the batsman makes the crease for him to be run out, and since the bails were only partially removed from the stumps at the when MSD was short of his ground, the umpire should have adjudged him not out.
Was the decision right?
So, was Dhoni really out? Or, was he wrongly adjudged dismissed? Let's look at the rules first. The MCC Law on run out (38.1) says, "Either batsman is out Run out, except as in 38.2, if, at any time while the ball is in play, he/she is out of his/her ground and his/her wicket is fairly put down by the action of a fielder even though No ball has been called, except in the circumstances of 22.214.171.124, and whether or not a run is being attempted."
So, the key words there are "wicket is fairly put down." However, this seemed too vague, so the ICC which can frame the rules of the game, decided to make things clearer. The rules state that the bails have to be 'broken' before the batsman grounds his bat behind the crease to achieve a run out.
So, bails being broken is important. Some people have a misconception that the bails need to be completely removed from the stumps. But if one has been watching cricket over the years, he would realise that umpires mainly look at when the bails are disturbed and not necessarily when they are completely detached.
One of the angles of Dhoni's run out clearly shows that his bat was short of the crease when the bails were lifted. This, by the standards of cricket, is sufficient for them to be considered broken. So, it is clear, Dhoni was out and CSK fans cannot crib about it. Let's give credit to both teams for putting up a great show and hope that similar excitement awaits us in the World Cup as well.