The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 season has seen a lot of harsh spotlight falling on umpiring decisions, but there was a moment of comic relief in Wednesday's match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab when one of the umpires put the ball in his pocket and then forgot all about it. Play was held up for two minutes as everybody – the fielding team, the two RCB batsmen and the umpires – looked around in bemusement for the ball. The situation was eventually rescued with the help of the TV cameras – with action replays catching umpire Shamsuddin in the act of pocketing the ball at the end of the previous over.
The incident happened at the end of the strategic timeout at the end of the 13th over of the RCB innings, with AB de Villiers and Marcus Stoinis batting.
Ankit Rajpoot, ready to bowl the 14th over after the timeout, suddenly realized he did not have the necessary ammunition to start the over – the ball. With a quizzical look, he asked around for it.
KXIP captain Ravichandran Ashwin, clearly not impressed with the break in proceedings, walked in slowly from mid-off and had an exchange with Shamsuddin, the umpire on the bowler's end.
Shamsuddin was seen trying to explain something to Ashwin, but the explanation seemed to not have any placating effect.
“Has someone eaten the ball?” asked the on-air commentators.
Perhaps to be spared from Ashwin's wrath, Shamsuddin then proceeded to move slowly towards Bruce Oxenford, the leg umpire.
AB de Villiers, in as much disbelief as fans that a ball could be lost in the middle of an IPL match, was seen having a hearty laugh, even though Stoinis was less amused.
It was at this point that TV cameras were used to solve the mystery of the ball that had vanished.
Replays showed the bowler handing the ball to umpire Bruce Oxenford at the end of the 13th over, then Oxenford giving the ball to Shamsuddin and then the umpire putting the ball in his pocket.
With the giant screen having solved the two-minute mystery, Shamsuddin embarrassedly took the ball out of his pocket and started running back to his position for normal proceedings to resume.
RCB won Wednesday's match by 17 runs, riding on an unbeaten 82 by AB de Villiers.