After 13 years and 123 T20Is, India got its first hat-trick in the format through rookie pacer Deepak Chahar, who ended up capturing the best men’s T20I figures of all time against Bangladesh, on Sunday. Two days later, he repeated the astonishing feat in a domestic T20 game. Or, did he?
On Tuesday, just a couple of days after returning figures of 3.2-0-7-6 in Nagpur, Chahar was out in the park again, representing his state Rajasthan in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India’s premier domestic T20 tournament.
He ended with figures of 4-18 from his three overs, picking up the Vidarbha’s seventh, eighth, and ninth wicket off consecutive legitimate deliveries. Despite there being little coverage on the ground for the game, Chahar’s second three-in-three captured major traction on social media, based on the automated tweet by the BCCI domestic scoring handle, which labelled the burst a hat-trick.
— BCCI Domestic (@BCCIdomestic) November 12, 2019
Over time, however, a murkier picture emerged. With no ball-by-ball scoring readily available online, Twitter’s statistical detectives were pressed into action to confirm the validity of the feat, and through inspection of the team score at the fall of each wicket, they established that the first and second wickets of the three-wicket sequence were separated by an illegitimate delivery. The fall of wickets read: 98-7, (12.4) 99-8, (12.5) 99-9, (12.6), ending Vidarbha’s innings on 99, in the truncated, 13-overs-a-side game, with the run gained between balls 12.4 and 12.5 the giveaway that something was amiss.
The true story emerged as follows: after Darshan Nalkande’s dismissal, off the fourth ball of the 13th over, Chahar bowled a wide, following it with back-to-back wickets of Srikanth Wagh and Akshay Wadkar. This meant the quick didn’t snaffle a hat-trick according to the traditional view of what constitutes one – taking three in a row in the same game. The same definition also means that he won’t start his next game on a hat-trick.
The fall of wickets in scorecard says
98-7 (Darshan Nalkande, 12.4)
99-8 (Shrikant Wagh, 12.5)
99-9 (Akshay Wadkar, 12.6)
It seems he has delivered a wide ball after his Nalkande wicket.
Deepak Chahar's final figures 4/18 in 3 overs.#SyedMushtaqAliTrophy 2019
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) November 12, 2019
However, while a rogue wide might have spoiled the party, Chahar once again confirmed himself as one of the most exciting prospects in Indian cricket.