Controversial Michael Neser catch in the Big Bash League divides the cricket world

Somehow, this season’s edition of the Big Bash League has produced a bigger talking point than when the Sydney Thunder defied logic late last year to be dismissed for just 15 runs.

During Brisbane Heat’s win over the Sydney Sixers last night confusion and controversy reigned when Michael Neser claimed an incredible catch off Jordan Silk who, in turn, thought he had plundered another six to keep his side’s hope of reeling in a mammoth score alive. 

Why Michael Neser’s catch was a legitimate dismissal 

Upon review of the catch, the third umpire ruled in the fielder’s favour and an incredulous Silk trudged back to the pavilion while plenty of head-scratching ensued as the rulebook become a major bone of contention.

MORE: BBL|12 – Full schedule and results for every Big Bash 2022/23 game 

The extraordinary moment has since left the cricket world divided with opinions split on whether it was a legitimate dismissal or a six.

Silk thought he had dispatched a second-straight Mark Steketee delivery over the Gabba boundary, only for Neser to come across and take the catch while careening towards the rope. 

However, he managed to flick the ball back up in the air and not touch the ground while still in possession of the ball.

Neser perfectly timing the placement of his feet and subsequent throw to take the ball back in the field of play and claim the catch on the third time of asking after his juggling act. 

The third umpire controversially ruling in the host’s favour with the law essentially boiling down to it being a legitimate catch as long as the fielder is not grounded on contact with the ball while stationed over the boundary.

Neser showed ‘brilliant sense of game awareness’ 

The Sixers’ pursuit of 225 suddenly took a massive hit with Silk’s knock of 41 off 23 balls brought to a baffling close. His side eventually going down by 15 runs in Queensland.

“I knew [Matt] Renshaw did it a couple of years ago,” Neser told 7Cricket in the aftermath of the dismissal.

“I didn’t know if they had changed the rules so I thought I would give it a crack. Thankfully, they didn’t change the rules.”

The crazy piece of fielding helped the Heat to just their second win of the competition so far out of six matches and resurrect their campaign as they attempt to climb up the ladder and finish in the top 5.

The high-scoring affair saw the home side post a huge total of 224-5 after electing to bat first, before the Sixers put up a valiant effort in their chase until Naser’s catch proved to be the fatal blow.

“I’ll put my hand up and say brilliant umpiring and a brilliant sense of game awareness by Michael Neser for him to know that rule,” Adam Gilchrist said on Fox Cricket‘s coverage.

“In this modern day, we shouldn’t be surprised, but we are continually surprised by how brilliant they are. They practice so much, and the fielders are learning all those intricate little rules.”

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