A TV umpire’s decision of disallowing Anjali Sarvani‘s catch to dismiss Hayley Matthews in the WPL 2023 Eliminator between Mumbai Indians and UP Warriorz has stirred up a controversy.

Having been put into bat by the UP Warriorz, the Mumbai Indians got off to a steady start in the powerplay. Yastika Bhatia took the charge early on and was dismissed for 21 off 18 with Hayley Matthews taking her time to settle. It was the arrival of Nat Sciver-Brunt that provided the impetus to the MI innings as she raced off to 15 off her first 10 balls.

At 61-1 after eight overs with a well-set Matthews and Sciver-Brunt on the crease, things were starting to look ominous for the UP Warriorz when Matthews pulled a short ball to backward square leg. Sarvani who was stationed there took a brilliant catch diving forward, much to the jubilation of the UP Warriorz players and fans.

The joy was short-lived for them though as the onfield umpires decided to refer the catch to the third umpire who judged that the ball had touched the ground – he paused on one of the frames and inferred that the ball was in contact with the grass – thus allowing Matthews a life.

“I think we might have a discussion on that because all of us thought the fingers were underneath this, plucked clean,” Harsha Bhogle said on commentary, as the big screen read “Not Out”.

Matthews couldn’t capitalise on it as she perished in the next over for a run-a-ball 26. But the decision raised a lot of eyebrows with many finding the decision hard to believe.

“I am not the third umpire so it doesn’t matter, but my view was that it probably never touched [the ground] at all,” Bhogle later said.