Fakhar Zaman's run-out in a thrilling finish to the 2nd ODI between Pakistan and South Africa on Sunday has triggered the 'spirit of cricket' debate on social media. Zaman fell 7 runs short of his 2nd ODI double hundred as Pakistan failed to gun down a 342-run target in Johannesburg despite the valiant effort from their opener.
Fakhar Zaman hit 10 sixes and 18 boundaries for his 155-ball 193 but he did not get support from the rest of the Pakistan batsmen who failed to trouble the scorers much in the 2nd ODI of a 3-match series. Captain Babar Azam's 31 was the next-best score for Pakistan who failed to provide Zaman the helping hand he needed.
Pakistan were reeling at 186 for 6 in the 34th over but Fakhar Zaman launched a splendid onslaught and took the visitors close to the finish line. Zaman brought the equation down to 51 runs from 18 balls but his valiant effort was not enough.
Fakhar Zaman was run-out for 193 in the first delivery of the final over. Zaman, who hit the ball towards the cover boundary, was trying to complete his second but was undone by a direct hit from deep by Aiden Markram. Zaman was comfortably-positioned to complete the second run but he mistook the throw to be going to the other end before seeing the stumps disturbed by the direct hit.
Notably, replays showed that South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock tricked Fakhar Zaman into believing that the throw was going to the non-striker's end. While Zaman was still in the process of completing the second run, de Kock raised his hand and singalled towards the non-striker's end.
It was a comical moment in the match but International Cricket Council's Fair Play laws don't allow 'Fake Fielding'.
Following is a section of MCC Fair and Unfair Play Rule.
"41.5 Deliberate distraction, deception or obstruction of batsman"
41.5: 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.
Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar took to social media and questioned his fans whether Quinton de Kock's gesture was in the spirit of the game.
"Was this run out by @QuinnyDeKock69 against the spirit of the game? I'd leave it for you guys to decide," he wrote.April 4, 2021
For the ones justifying. he clearly deceived fakhar zaman by his gesture and he unintentionally looked behind and hence slowed himself down. this is clear cheating. fake fielding. against the rules. #fakharzaman #PakvRSA pic.twitter.com/qqNm5oKo8p
Pakistan lost the 2nd ODI by 17 runs as the asking rate proved too much for Fakhar Zaman in the end. The visitors needed 31 runs in the final over and Zaman's run-out made sure they were out of the contest.
With the series leveled at 1-1, Pakistan and South Africa will meet in the deciding encounter in Centurion on Wednesday, April 7.