The officials at the centre of last night's KFC Big Bash League clash have clarified the decision to allow Adelaide Strikers allrounder Kieron Pollard to bowl with strapping tape on his hand.
Melbourne Star batsman Kevin Pietersen made the unusual request for Pollard to remove the tape on his right hand at the start of the 11th over with the home side chasing 153 for victory at the MCG.
Pietersen made his feelings clear during a mid-pitch confrontation between the international duo that added some spice to the tense run chase in front of 40,000 fans.
While there was some confusion among viewers watching at the venue and from home, Law 41 of the Laws of Cricket states, "protection for the hand or fingers may be worn only with the consent of the umpires".
The man in the middle of the drama – field umpire John Ward – was quick to explain the situation post-match.
"Kevin Pietersen wanted Kieron Pollard to take off the tape that was on his hand and we didn't think it was necessary," Ward explained on Optus Sport's Umpires' Verdict.
"He's worn it all tournament and it doesn't enhance his bowling and our decision was that it's OK."
Pressed further on what lead to a situation where a bowler would be required to remove the tape, Ward said it ultimately came down to whether or not there was as advantage to be gained.
"The colour of the tape comes into it," Ward said. "But if we felt that it was giving him an unfair advantage we'd then direct him to take it off."
Speaking to the Channel Ten commentary while mic'd up during the incident, Pietersen suggested one umpire had deemed the tape acceptable, while the other disagreed.
However, umpire Paul Wilson said a closer inspection of Pollard's bowling hand made it clear that there was no issue to be found with the tape being used.
"It was more that it was a prolonged discussion, so you've got to get together as a team," Wilson said of the need to step in alongside Ward during the on-field drama.
"When I came across and Kieron showed me his hand, it was pretty obvious that it was no advantage to him whatsoever.
"Being an ex-bowler myself, any tape on the hand – unless it's an abrasive surface – isn't going to give you an advantage anyway.
"So from our point of view it was pretty clear cut and we get on with the game."
Pietersen was run out for 32 a few overs later, before paceman Ben Hilfenhaus produced a crucial 32 not out to guide the home side to victory with three balls to spare.