During Scotland's Group B match against Oman, left-arm spinner Mark Watt was controversially denied a wicket when his delivery from 24 yards was deemed to be a dead ball after the batter pulled out from playing a shot.

In their third game of the 2024 T20 World Cup, Scotland were sent in to field in Antigua as Oman chose to bat first. They got rid of opener Naseem Khushi early but Oman captain Aqib Ilyas and Pratik Athavale steered their side through the Powerplay to 53-2.

Scotland opened the bowling with Watt, who returned for the seventh over to pick up the wicket of Zeeshan Maqsood. In the ninth over of the innings, controversy emerged as he attempted to bowl one of his trademark '24-yarders'; deliveries bowled from just in front of the umpire, well before the bowling crease.

Watt first attempted it on the fourth ball of the ninth over, but batter Khalid Kail pulled out of the delivery, leading to a call of dead ball from the umpire. The spinner tried again on the very next ball, and Kail pulled out again. The ball ended up hitting the stumps but Scotland's celebrations were cut short as the umpire once again called it a dead ball. A few players remonstrated with the officials, claiming that Kail was ready for the ball, and pulled out only after it had been delivered.

What do the Laws of Cricket say about the incident?

According to Law of the MCC's Laws of the Game, "Either umpire shall call and signal Dead ball when the striker is distracted by any noise or movement or in any other way while preparing to receive, or receiving a delivery. This shall apply whether the source of the distraction is within the match or outside it."

The previous clause states that dead ball can be called if "the striker is not ready for the delivery of the ball and, if the ball is delivered, makes no attempt to play it," but only "provided the umpire is satisfied that the striker had adequate reason for not being ready".

Interpreted leniently, it could be argued that Kail was distracted by Watt delivering the ball far earlier than he had expected, almost from behind the umpire. However, considering the ball was live from the moment Watt began his run-up, Scotland will say that the bowler's regular bowling action cannot constitute a distraction to the striker by way of movement. Kail's lack of attempt to play the ball also likely worked in his favour.

In the game between Australia and England yesterday (June 8), Matthew Wade was angered by the umpire's refusal to call dead ball after he had pulled out during delivery. However, Wade did block the ball, rather than letting it pass.

Watch Mark Watt's 24-yarder bowl Khalid Kail but go down as a dead ball

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Scotland and Watt were left frustrated by the umpires' decision, but got their reward soon. Kail was dismissed off the very next delivery, run out at the bowler's end after being sent back by Pratik Athavale while attempting a second run.

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