Following a number of queries regarding the final delivery during the VITALITY Blast final on Saturday 16 JULY, MCC has released the following clarification:
The match was concluded when the ball was deemed to be dead by the umpire, after the batters had completed one bye from the final ball. The bowler's end umpire signalled the bye to the scorers. Under Law 2.13.3, the signal for bye shall be made to the scorers only when the ball is dead.
The ball was dead because, in the view of the umpire, it was finally settled in the hands of the wicket-keeper. Law 20.2 states:
20.2 Ball finally settled
Whether the ball is finally settled or not is a matter for the umpire alone to decide.
Analysis of the footage of the match showed that, when the umpire signalled the bye, the original non-striker was standing still, about four yards behind the striker’s wicket, while the striker was slowing down in his attempt to reach the other end, so it was reasonable to consider that the ball was dead.
It is not therefore relevant that the wicket was not lawfully put down at the bowler's end.
Once the umpire has made the decision that the ball is dead, that decision cannot be revoked.
It is also worth noting Law 16.10:
"Once the umpires have agreed with the scorers the correctness of the scores at the conclusion of the match – see Laws 2.15 (Correctness of scores) and 3.2 (Correctness of scores) – the result cannot thereafter be changed."
This is not the first example of premature celebrations by the fielding side creating uncertainty at the end of close matches.
Teams are encouraged to ensure that all play has definitively ceased before starting any victory celebrations.
In relation to the field change for the No ball free hit, that's not for MCC to clarify. Free hits are not in the Laws - they are an ECB playing regulation - so it's up to ECB to issue any guidance on this.
You can read the Laws of Cricket in full using the link below.
Laws of Cricket