10 most unlucky dismissals in cricket history
Cricket is predominantly about technique and skill, but an intangible element that plays an equally vital role is luck.
We’ve come across numerous instances when batsmen went on to slam massive hundreds after being handed reprieves early on in their innings. Likewise, there have been occasions when the willow-wielders haven’t enjoyed the rub of the green, and lost their wickets to freakish pieces of bad fortune.
We have compiled ten such bizarre dismissals. In this article, we take a look at 10 batsmen who were sent packing not by the opposition’s brilliance, but by their own wretched luck:
10 most unlucky dismissals in cricket history:
#1 Peter Nevill, Melbourne Stars vs Melbourne Renegades, BBL 2016
The BBL has been synonymous with innovation, but nobody expected the fancy league to conjure an unprecedented run-out method. The Melbourne powerhouses were locking horns at Docklands Stadium, when Adam Zampa accidentally did the unthinkable.
The leg-spinner floated one up to Dwayne Bravo, who accepted the invitation and waltzed down the track to hammer the full-toss straight onto non-striker Peter Nevill’s bat. The ball deflected powerfully off the blade to smash Zampa flush on the nose, and then ricocheted onto the stumps.
Nevill, taken by surprise, was concerned about Zampa’s well-being at first, and had failed to realise that he was actually out of his ground. However, the bowler appealed immediately after gathering his wits, and Nevill was adjudged run-out by umpire Geoff Joshua.
The wicket-keeper batsmen walked off to a standing ovation, for displaying remarkable sportsmanship under such peculiar circumstances.
#2 Alastair Cook, 3rd Test, Ashes 2015
Australia were enduring an awful day when Adam Voges lifted their spirits by producing an astonishingly fortuitous grab to remove England captain Alastair Cook. The southpaw jumped on his back-foot, and threw the kitchen sink at Nathan Lyon‘s half-tracker. The cameraman naturally panned the focus to the outfield, but the ball was not visible.
Adam Voges was shielding himself from the full-blooded stroke, by crouching in the hope that the ball would evade him. To Cook’s utter horror, he had timed his squat to perfection, and had astonishingly managed to snare the cherry between his chest and right armpit. An absolute blinder, literally!
The unbelievable catch left players and commentators gasping for breath. “No way,” David Gower exclaimed on air. “He’s caught it without having seen it.”
#3 Ben Stokes, 2nd ODI, Australia tour of England 2015
England all-rounder Ben Stokes was declared out in controversial fashion during the second One-Day International in 2015 against Australia at Lord’s. The incident occurred during England’s chase when Stokes instinctively reacted to a shy at the stumps by the bowler, Mitchell Starc, by sticking out his left glove and blocking the throw.
Wicket-keeper Matthew Wade initiated the appeal, and soon, the remaining Australian players joined the chorus. On-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Tim Robinson referred the case to the third umpire Joel Wilson. The TV umpire adjudged Stokes out for handling the ball, after viewing numerous slow-motion replays.
The contentious episode provoked arguments on whether Stokes deliberately impeded the path of the ball. However, it certainly looked like his reflex action was merely a preventive self-defense measure.
#4 Andrew Symonds, 1st ODI, VB Series 2005
Andrew Symonds had bludgeoned a quickfire half-century in the 2005 VB series opener, and had almost pummelled Sri Lanka into submission. The all-rounder was motoring along with destructive stroke-play, and none of the bowlers appeared lethal enough to stall his juggernaut.
When it seemed like Symonds would bully the ‘Emerald Islanders’ out of the contest, luck eluded the brawny right-hander, and he fell prey to some comical misfortune.
Symonds absolutely drilled Jehan Mubarak’s loopy off-break down the ground, but the brutal hit caught non-striker Michael Clarke napping. The latter couldn’t drag himself out of the stroke’s trajectory, and the ball cannoned into his ankle. The cherry lobbed up towards Tillakaratne Dilshan at catching mid-wicket, who gobbled it up.
The amusing nature of the dismissal left everyone present on the ground in splits. Symonds too enjoyed a good laugh, and even signalled to Clarke for a post-match beer to talk about the ludicrous mishap that had just transpired.
#5 Hilton Cartwright, Western Australia vs NSW, Sheffield Shield 2019
The New South Wales bowlers had kept things tight, and Hilton Cartwright had only been allowed a scant 3 runs out of the 45 deliveries he had faced. And hence, Cartwright’s eyes lit up when he saw part-timer Jason Sangha preparing to dish out some mediocre leg-spin.
As expected, Sangha dropped one short and Cartwright sensed an opportunity to score. The right-hander camped back and unleashed a thunderous pull. However, the ball went on to smack the helmet of short-leg fielder Nick Larkin. Much to Cartwright’s chagrin, the rebound ballooned straight up in the air and Sangha jogged across to grasp the dolly.
Interestingly, according to Cricket Australia, the wicket taken would not have been considered legitimate prior to 2017. The rules used to state that any ball that struck a fielder’s helmet should automatically be ruled a dead ball.
#6 Ravi Bopara, 5th ODI, England tour of Australia 2014
The final ODI between England and Australia went right down the wire, with the visitors requiring 9 runs to win off as many deliveries. Though England were prime favourites at that stage with power hitter Ravi Bopara occupying the crease, Australia weren’t throwing in the towel because England had only two wickets in hand.
But then an outrageous stumping dismissal turned the game on its head, and Australia snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat. Clint McKay fired one in the fourth stump channel, and Bopara got beaten while looking to nudge the ball down to third man.
Blinded by the bat face, Matthew Wade too failed to receive the ball cleanly. The ball bounced out of his gloves to dislodge the stumps, with Bopara’s foot momentarily in the air.
Following lengthy deliberations, the third umpire ruled Bopara out stumped, and the tail-enders were left with a lot to do. The all-rounder watched his side go down from the sidelines, cursing his luck and shaking his head in dismay.
(This particular video can be watched from 2:25)
#7 Arjun Nair, Sydney Thunders vs Adelaide Strikers, BBL 2020
The Sydney Thunder were falling like a pack of cards during their knockout clash against Adelaide Strikers, when Chris Morris and Arjun Nair joined forces to weather the storm. However, an incredible stroke of fortune for the Strikers brought about another dismissal, and Thunders were left clutching at straws yet again.
Morris smashed Peter Siddle’s yorker straight back down the ground, but the ball kissed the bowler’s shoe on its way. The deflection was enough to catch Nair short at the non-striker’s end. Siddle couldn’t help but let out a cheeky smile, and even apologised to the departing batsman for showcasing his football skills, albeit involuntarily.
#8 Junaid Siddique, 1st Test, Bangladesh tour of New Zealand 2010
Opener Tamim Iqbal had flattered only to deceive, and the onus was on middle-order batsman Junaid Siddique to guide Bangladesh forward to a respectable score. However, destiny had other ideas.
The flamboyant stroke player couldn’t believe his rotten luck when Chris Martin‘s bouncer looped high in the air off his arm guard, and landed directly on the stumps with surgical precision. The weird dismissal opened the floodgates, and Bangladesh were wrapped up shortly thereafter.
(The particular video can be watched from 4:25)
#9 Katey Martin, Southern Stars vs New Zealand T20s 2018
You would have witnessed several hit-wicket dismissals, but surely none as ridiculous as Katey Martin’s in an unofficial game against the Southern Stars.
After being pinged on the thigh pad by an innocuous leg-break from Amanda-Jade Wellington, Martin was nonchalantly dragging her bat back. She accidentally touched the ball and directed it towards the stumps, and was out hit-wicket.
The Australian women were all smiles as Martin sauntered off the field with a wry grin portraying her bafflement.
(The particular video can be watched from 4:45)
#10 Kevin Pietersen, 3rd Test, West Indies tour of England 2007
England had made a mockery of West Indies’ insipid bowling attack, and were cruising towards an enormous first-innings target. It was then that Dwayne Bravo drew the curtains on Kevin Pietersen’s vigil in the most unbelievable fashion.
Bravo produced a searing bouncer out of nowhere, and Pietersen attempted a hook. The ball kicked up nastily off the surface and dinged Pietersen square on the helmet grille. The result- the helmet got knocked off and fell onto the stumps. Bravo, sticking to his jolly reputation, forgot to check up on Pietersen, and went about celebrating his wicket.
The England batsman later said that the helmet’s chin strap pulled away on impact, and hinted at modifications that were required in helmet manufacturing.