NEW DELHI: Tabraiz Shamsi visibly breathed a sigh of relief after narrowly surviving a close leg-before-wicket (lbw) appeal that was decided as ‘Umpire’s Call.’ This critical decision effectively sealed Pakistan’s fate in the World Cup, following their one-wicket loss to South Africa, marking their fourth consecutive defeat in the tournament.In the pursuit of 271 runs, the Proteas found themselves at their last pair, and Tabraiz Shamsi faced a fervent lbw appeal from Haris Rauf.The on-field umpire initially ruled it as not out.When Rauf decided to review the decision, the ‘Umpire’s Call’ aspect granted Shamsi a lifeline by the narrowest of margins. This turned out to be a pivotal moment in the match.”When I walked down the wicket, Keshav (Maharaj) told me that it was sliding down the wicket. So, I felt cool about it,” he told reporters after the conquest in Chennai.Maharaj, whose composed approach received praise from everyone, acknowledged that DRS (Decision Review System) calls can be quite unpredictable. The South African team shared a similar sentiment when Rassie van der Dussen found himself facing a contentious leg-before decision while batting against Usama Mir. There was confusion regarding the Umpire’s Call and what was displayed on the replay.Although the on-field umpire gave him out, the subsequent review indicated a double Umpire’s Call, which was disheartening for the Proteas. Nevertheless, Maharaj emphasised that despite their mixed feelings, the team had to accept the verdict provided by the technology.
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“Obviously, we felt differently. But when the technology says otherwise, we have to accept it.”Tense chase and freedom to express themselvesTalking about the chase, Shamsi said that since they had time and deliveries left, they believed to get the job done.Shamsi admitted that Pakistan pacers were getting the old ball to reverse.”We knew we had a lot of time, so it was just a matter of getting forward and putting the bat in the way. They were always going to come for the stumps, and the ball was reversing.””I love it (those nervy moments). That’s probably the only four runs that I have scored the whole year, but with those guys running in and bowling quick, I have never seen the ball as clearly as today. For some reason, it didn’t feel like a pressure situation.”One of the talking points of the South African innings was Marco Jansen’s dismissal off Haris, as he gifted his wicket having already hit him for a four and a six in the over.However, Shamsi clarified that the batters in his squad have the freedom to take the best shot at that moment.”If he didn’t get out, we wouldn’t be having this question. We give guys the freedom to take the best option that they think is the best at the moment.””There’s no pressure on any specific guy to do the job. It didn’t come out for him today. Next game, the ball goes for a boundary, and he is still there batting and winning the game for us.”He also expressed satisfaction with his bowling performance, having claimed a 4/60 and Player of the Match award.”Very happy with that. Obviously, the guys up front are doing a great job. Full credit to them who bowled before me. We are a unit. Today was my day to take the wickets, but they obviously set it up, and it was my job to continue and make it easier for the guys,” he added.On his part, Maharaj credited the top-order batters for setting up the platform.”I was just watching the ball, and I felt confident of being in a position where I could just place the ball in the right area. We know Shaheen, the calibre of a pacer he is. It was quite difficult but lucky enough that we got through the period.””The batters set it up for us. Yes, there were situations where we felt we had to take the risk. But, the bigger picture was that there were 40 balls to go, and a run a ball would have been enough. (With the field placement) we had to fight our temptation (of going for the big hits).”Maharaj was also elated to have a great depth within the squad, saying, “Fortunate enough to have a lot of depth in our squad, especially from the fast bowlers’ perspective, which is encouraging to see.”(With PTI Inputs)