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Usman Khawaja caught out by Fawad Ahmed in BBL catch controversy in Thunder-Strikers finals clash

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A soft signal on the field, and some inconclusive slow-motion replays, have cost Usman Khawaja his wicket in the Sydney Thunder’s loss to Adelaide in their Big Bash finals clash.

The Thunder fell six runs short against the Strikers at the MCG on Sunday night, with opener Khawaja out for 23 at the hands of Fawad Ahmed.

In the seventh over of the Thunder’s run chase, recalled Test star Khawaja edged Matt Short to short third man, where Ahmed took a low chance diving forward.

Replays showed the ball bouncing up into his hands, potentially off the grass, but the on-field umpires had given a “soft” signal of out, so Khawaja was sent on his way.

Khawaja told Channel Seven he did not think it was out live nor on the replay.

A close-up photo of Sydney Thunder player Usman Khawaja walking off the field after getting out in the Big Bash League.
Usman Khawaja says he has to accept the umpires’ decision, even if he doesn’t agree.(Getty Images: Cricket Australia/Jonathan Di Maggio)

“I thought, at the end of the day, the soft signal cost me. I’ve never been a fan of the soft signal but when they give it out on the field that makes it hard to overturn,” he said.

“I just said to the umpires on the field that I can’t believe a blade of grass didn’t touch the ball there. That’s all it takes, and it looks 100 per cent like the grass touched the ball.

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“They didn’t really give me a direct answer and I told them they didn’t really give me a direct answer. Still, I had to accept the decision. I don’t agree with it but I have to accept it.”

Khawaja acknowledged Ahmed would not have necessarily known one way or the other in real time.

“As a fielder, I know you don’t always 100 per cent know,” he said.

In commentary, Test legend Ricky Ponting was adamant the catch should be paid.

“His fingers are definitely under the ball. His fingers are spread,” he said.

“The argument [would] be that some of that ball has touched the ground, but in between his fingers. So his fingers have actually got under it first.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan disagreed while commentating for Fox, saying he also was “not a fan of the soft signal of out”.

Kiwi T20 star Jimmy Neesham said soft signal or not, the replays showed enough to overturn the decision.

“How’s it the soft signal’s fault that an umpire can’t watch footage of the ball hitting the ground and say that the ball’s hit the ground,” he tweeted.



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