MS Dhoni run out: Did umpiring error cost India place in Cricket World Cup final?

Furore after six fielders are spotted outside 30-yard circle when there are only supposed to be five during powerplay

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 10:  MS Dhoni of India bats during resumption of the Semi-Final match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between India and New Zealand after weather affected play at Old Trafford on July 10, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
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Social media is abuzz with speculation over the legitimacy of MS Dhoni's dismissal during the Cricket World Cup semi-final clash between India and New Zealand on Wednesday.

Dhoni, lightning quick as always while running between the wickets, sprinted back for an unlikely second run only to be beaten by a direct hit from Martin Guptill, one of New Zealand's best fielders. The veteran wicketkeeper's return to the pavilion for 50, not long after top-scorer Ravindra Jadeja holed out for 77, proved to be the final nail in the coffin for India as the title favourities were beaten by 18 runs at Old Trafford.

However, the dismissal has created controversy on social media.

There is no question about the run-out itself, of course, but the graphic used by television commentators to illustrate the positions of the fielders in real time showed there were six men outside the 30-yard circle at the time. With the third powerplay under way, only five were allowed to take positions outside the inner ring.

Had the umpires spotted the discrepancy, would they have called it a "dead ball" or a "no ball"? That seems to be the question asked on Twitter.

Of course, Dhoni would still have been adjudged out if the umpire had called "no ball".

Netizens, though, point out the master tactician would probably have stayed rooted to his crease at the call of a "no ball" so as to take advantage of a free hit that would have followed.

Reactions to Dhoni's dismissal ranged from rage against the umpires to sour grapes to sadness to speculation about the future of the 38-year-old, and whether this was the last game the 2011 World Cup-winning captain had played for India.