Cricket: Controversial Michael Neser catch causes mass confusion in Big Bash League

A controversial catch in the Australian Big Bash League has left opinions divided, and fans and pundits across the globe reaching for the rulebook.

With his team needing 26 runs off 11 deliveries to win, Sydney Sixer batter Jordan Silk was given out, after an innovative catch on the boundary by Brisbane Heat's Michael Neser.

Silk thought he'd hit a second consecutive six and given the nature of the catch, understandably so.

Neser took the catch at deep mid-off and, with his momentum taking him over the boundary rope, threw the ball up and well over the rope to retrieve it.

He then took a second jump while catching it beyond the rope and ran back inside the boundary to claim the catch.

Neser himself was among those confused whether he'd made a legitimate catch, but the onfield umpire and the third umpire both agreed he had, and a protesting Silk made his way to the pavilion. The Heat went on to win the game by 15 runs.

According to cricket's official laws, Neser was not considered to be grounded beyond the boundary, as his first contact with the ball came within the field of play.

MCC's rulebook states: "The ball in play is to be regarded as being grounded beyond the boundary if a fielder, grounded beyond the boundary, touches the ball (or if) a fielder, after catching the ball within the boundary, becomes grounded beyond the boundary while in contact with the ball, before completing the catch."

After the game, the bowler said he'd recalled a similar effort by Matt Renshaw in the BBL a few seasons ago, but was unsure whether the rule had since changed.

"I knew Renshaw did it a couple of years ago and I didn't know if they'd changed the rules, so I was going to give it a crack and thankfully they didn't change the rules," he said during Seven's broadcast.

"I did know it was a rule, but I didn't know if they'd changed it."

Australian cricket great Adam Gilchrist admitted he wasn't aware of the rule and was also left baffled by the incident.

"I'll put my hand up and say brilliant umpiring and a brilliant sense of game awareness by Michael Neser for him to know that rule," he said on Fox Cricket's coverage.

"In this modern day, we shouldn't be surprised, but we are continually surprised by how brilliant they are. They practice so much and the fielders are learning all those intricate little rules.

"I don't know any cricketer that can put their hand on their heart and say they know every single rule of the game, but maybe there are more out there now with the modern athleticism and skill that they have."

Veteran broadcaster Adam White was among those who took exception with the catch, insisting the rule needs to be changed.

"It clearly shouldn’t be out under the rules of the game," White tweeted. "Once a player is grounded outside the field of play, he should be out of the play."