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Dinesh Karthik was happy to play peacemaker after Tim Southee, R Ashwin and Eoin Morgan got into a war of words

Tuesday’s first IPL game between the Delhi Capitals and the Kolkata Knight Riders produced a momentary argument involving Tim Southee, Eoin Morgan and R Ashwin, which required intervention from the KKR wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik, who said he was happy to have played peacemaker.

The argument came about in the final over of the Capitals innings, after Ashwin had been dismissed by Southee off its first ball. The prelude, Karthik explained after the game, had come off the last ball of the previous over, when the Capitals had snuck in an overthrow after a throw from point had deflected off Rishabh Pant at the non-striker’s end.

“Rahul Tripathi threw the ball, it hit Rishabh Pant, and then ricocheted,” Karthik said. “And Ashwin called for it and they started to run. I don’t think Morgan appreciates that. I think he’s somebody who, when the ball hits the batsman or the bat, he expects them not to run in the spirit of cricket.

“Again, it’s a very grey area, it’s a very interesting topic. I have my own opinion on it but at the moment I’ll just say I’m happy I played peacemaker and things have come to a good standstill right now.”

There isn’t a clause in the playing conditions that stops a team from running overthrows off of deflections off the stumps, the batters, or their equipment; a relevant clause to look at is clause 37.2 in the IPL playing conditions, which directly deals with exceptions when it comes to obstructing the field, but provides some hints about the legality of taking a run off a deflection. The clause says that a batter is not out obstructing the field if the “obstruction or distraction is accidental, or […] in order to avoid injury”.

In Tuesday’s case, there was nothing to suggest Pant deflected the ball intentionally. It is, however, common to see batters not taking extra runs when the ball deflects off them – a judgement call not based on law.

After Southee dismissed Ashwin off the next ball, he exchanged words with Ashwin, before Morgan chipped in as the batter made his way back to the dugout. Karthik was seen getting in between the two parties before Ashwin turned around and walked out. Pant, who was at the centre of the incident, said he didn’t see anything wrong with the situation on the whole.

“I think it’s part and parcel of the game because both teams are striving to win the match, so some things are gonna happen. Whatever is good for the game,” he said. “I think that was in the spirit of the game, nothing much, because at the end of the day Ash and Morgan are trying to win the game for their sides and there can be some miscommunication in between.”

The culmination of this mini-contest came during KKR’s chase, when Ashwin was brought on to bowl his last over to Morgan and had him caught at slip for a second-ball duck which he celebrated animatedly. But KKR’s lower-middle order saw them through a nervous phase to seal victory by three wickets.

Morgan, incidentally, was England’s captain when they were the beneficiaries of the most famous unintentionally deflected throw in cricket history. In the last over of the 2019 World Cup final, the ball hit Ben Stokes’ bat as he dived to make his ground, and ran away to the boundary, taking the question of whether or not to profit from the deflection entirely out of the batting team’s hands.

Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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