Having been involved in a controversial run-out, Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman blamed himself for not looking at the fielder in the second One-Day International against South Africa in Johannesburg on Sunday (April 4). The 30-year-old smoked a superb 155-ball 193 and single-handedly kept Pakistan in the game till the very end. The left-hander was racing towards his second double ton before he was undone by a direct hit from Aiden Markram from long-off in the final over of the game.
The run-out however sparked a debate in the cricketing world, with wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock gesturing that the throw might be going towards the non-striker's end. Fakhar saw that and slowed down a bit, but the throw took him by surprise and he was caught short of the crease. De Kock later seemed to acknowledge his gestures that led to the run-out. Pakistan needed 31 off the final over but Fakhar had a golden opportunity to become only the second batsman after Rohit Sharma to score two or more double centuries.
Law 41.5.1 states that "it is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt, by word or action, to distract, deceive or obstruct either batsman after the striker has received the ball". And, if the umpires feel that the fielder had "caused or attempted to cause such a distraction", they are entitled to award a five-run penalty to the guilty side. However, Fakhar refused to blame de Kock and said it was his fault.
"The fault was mine as I was too busy looking out for Haris Rauf at the other end as I felt he'd started off a little late from his crease, so I thought he was in trouble. The rest is up to the match referee, but I don't think it's Quinton's fault," he said.
The Law is clear, with the offence being an ATTEMPT to deceive, rather than the batsman actually being deceived.— Marylebone Cricket Club (@MCCOfficial) April 4, 2021
It’s up to the umpires to decide if there was such an attempt. If so, then it's Not out, 5 Penalty runs + the 2 they ran, and batsmen choose who faces next ball.
Talking about the incident, South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said, "It was quite clever from Quinny. Maybe some people might criticise it for maybe not being in the spirit of the game. But it was an important wicket for us. Zaman was getting close to our target. Yeah, it was clever from Quinny.
"You've always got to look for ways especially when things are not going your way, got to find ways to turn momentum around. Quinny did that - I don't think he broke the rules in any kind of way. It was a clever piece of cricket."
Chasing a massive target of 342, Pakistan slipped to 205/7 but Fakhar refused to throw in the towel. The opener smashed 18 fours and 10 sixes in his knock and registered the highest individual score in ODI cricket while chasing. Pakistan eventually lost the game by 17 runs and allowed South Africa to level the series 1-1.
"I don't regret not getting the double, I regret losing the match. If we had won this it would've been amazing so my regret is about that. The situation was such that I was only focusing on getting the win, not the double. I couldn't finish it but I'd take scoring less runs than this and winning the game," said Fakhar.
The two teams will now meet in Centurion on Wednesday (April 7) for the series-deciding final ODI.