U19 Cricket World Cup: England win despite Hamza Shaikh's controversial 'obstructing the field' dismissal

Hamza Shaikh given out for 'obstructing the field' in 17th over of England's U19 Cricket World Cup win over Zimbabwe in Potchefstroom; England exit competition at Super Six stage despite victory; Watch the men's U19 World Cup in South Africa live on Sky Sports Cricket

Hamza Shaikh was controversially given out for obstructing the field after picking up the ball and throwing it to the wicketkeeper in England's U19 World Cup clash with Zimbabwe

England ended their U19 Cricket World Cup campaign with an emphatic 146-run victory over Zimbabwe, despite batter Hamza Shaikh's controversial dismissal when given out for 'obstructing the field'.

The incident occurred in the 17th over of the Super Six clash in Potchefstroom when Shaikh blocked a delivery from Ryan Simbi and the ball stopped after hitting his foot.

The right-hander then picked the ball up to throw it back to wicketkeeper Ryan Kamwemba as he approached from behind the stumps, prompting Zimbabwe to appeal on the grounds Shaikh had done so without seeking permission from the fielding team.

Law 37.4 of cricket states: "Either batter is out Obstructing the field if, at any time while the ball is in play and, without the consent of a fielder, he/she uses the bat or any part of his/her person to return the ball to any fielder."

The two on-field umpires consulted with each other and sent the appeal for a review, with the third umpire signalling Shaikh was out (for one off nine deliveries) after viewing the replay, leaving England 78-3 after losing the toss and having been made to bat first.


England went on to post 237-7 from their 50 overs, Charlie Allison striking a crucial 76 to go with opener Theo Wylie's 61 and valuable lower-order runs from Haydon Mustard (41).

Tazeem Chaudry Ali (7-29) then tore through the Zimbabwe batting order, the leg-spinner taking all of the final seven wickets to fall as they were bowled out for 91.

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Despite the comprehensive victory, England exit the competition at the Super Six stage, finishing fourth in Group 2 and outside of the two semi-final spots claimed by Australia and South Africa.

Shaikh's dismissal is reminiscent of a near-identical incident which occurred in the 2018 U19 World Cup, in a match between the West Indies and South Africa, which created a minor furore in the cricket world.

Image: Hamza Shaikh leaves the field after being dismissed for obstructing the field

On that occasion, South Africa opener Jiveshan Pillay was given out after picking up a ball which had stopped after he had inside-edged onto his pad, throwing it back to wicketkeeper Emmanuel Stewart.

Stewart, who was also the West Indies' captain, quickly appealed and Pillay was out for 47 on the say-so of the third umpire. South Africa did, however, go on to win the game by 76 runs.

In total, eight players have been given out for obstructing the field in the history of senior men's one-day international cricket, including current England Test captain Ben Stokes in a match against Australia at Lord's in 2015.

While the decision to give Shaikh out was correct within cricket's laws, there will no doubt be debate around whether it was in the spirit of the game for Zimbabwe to appeal in the first place.

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