Skipper Bavuma defends De Kock bluff runout: 'It was a clever piece of cricket'

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Quinton de Kock reacts to Fakhar Zaman's run out. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze / AFP)
Quinton de Kock reacts to Fakhar Zaman's run out. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze / AFP)
  • Debate has erupted over whether Quinton de Kock deliberately fooled Pakistan batting hero Fakhar Zaman in Sunday's 2nd ODI in the process of the Proteas running him out. 
  • SA's gloveman seemed to indicate that Aiden Markram's throw was going to the non-striker's end, prompting Fakhar to slow down. 
  • Both Fakhar and home skipper Temba Bavuma defended De Kock's action as the MCC pointed out that any potential sanction had to have come from the on-field umpires.

Whether it would've made a material difference to the result is moot, but a debate has erupted over whether Quinton de Kock deliberately deceived Fakhar Zaman before his dismissal in Sunday's 2nd ODI at the Wanderers.

Tasked with scoring 31 runs off the final over, Pakistan's opener - who had launched a spectacular assault on the Proteas attack - hit the first delivery to Aiden Markram at long-off.

Turning for a second run, Fakhar slowed down because wicketkeeper De Kock seemed to indicate that the throw was going to the non-striker's end, only to watch in horror as Markram's admittedly fine piece of fielding hit his stumps.

That ended a magnificent knock of 193 off just 155 balls as the visitors, who looked dead and buried at one stage, finished just 17 runs short.

According to the MCC, who are the custodians of the game's laws, the onus would've been on on-field umpires, Marais Erasmus and Allahudien Paleker, to rule whether De Kock's act was deliberate.

Law 41.5.1 states "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".

Had that been the case, South Africa would've been penalised with five runs and Lungi Ngidi would've had to re-bowl the delivery.

Perhaps because the umpires took no action and that De Kock's intentions are probably difficult to prove, Fakhar chose not to blame anyone but himself for getting out.

"The fault was mine as I was too busy looking out for Haris Rauf at the other end as I felt he'd started off a little late from his crease, so I thought he was in trouble," he said after the game.

"The rest is up to the match referee, but I don't think it's Quinton's fault."

Temba Bavuma, the Proteas' skipper, only made a passing reference to the incident at the official post-match media conference, saying it was a case of "taking whatever opportunities are presented to us".

He was more detailed in an interview with broadcaster SuperSport just after proceedings had ended.

"It was quite clever from Quinny. Maybe some people might criticise it for maybe not being in the spirit of the game. But it was an important wicket for us. Zaman was getting close to our target. Yeah, it was clever from Quinny," said Bavuma.

"You've always got to look for ways especially when things are not going your way, got to find ways to turn momentum around. Quinny did that - I don't think he broke the rules in any kind of way. It was a clever piece of cricket." 

The deciding match of the three-match series will take place in Centurion on Wednesday.
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