England should have been awarded five runs instead of six in the final over of Sunday’s World Cup title clash against New Zealand after a throw from the deep struck Ben Stokes’ bat and ran away for a boundary, former umpire Simon Taufel has said.
England ended their 44-year wait for a maiden 50-overs World Cup by beating New Zealand on boundaries after a tied Super Over.
But Australian Taufel suggested that the umpires had made an “error of judgement".
With England needing nine runs from the last three balls of the final over, Stokes desperately dived to complete a second run when Martin Guptill’s throw from the deep hit his bat and went to the boundary, prompting the umpire to signal six runs.
“It’s a clear mistake. It’s an error of judgment. (England) should have been awarded five runs, not six," Taufel, who is part of cricket’s law-making body, told Foxsports.com.au.
MCC’s law 19.8, which deals with overthrows, says: “If the boundary results from an overthrow... runs scored shall be any runs for penalties awarded... and allowance for the boundary, and runs completed by batsmen, together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the throw or act."
The governing International Cricket Council could not be immediately reached for comment about the decision of the umpires.
Cricket website ESPNcricinfo reported after reviewing footage that Guptill had released the ball when Stokes and Adil Rashid had not yet crossed for the second run.
Taufel said leg-spinner Rashid would have been on strike to face the last two deliveries had the second run been found to be incomplete.
However, he had sympathy for Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena and his South African colleague Marais Erasmus, the men in the middle.
“In the heat of what was going on, they thought there was a good chance the batsmen crossed at the instant of the throw," the 48-year-old added.
“Obviously TV replays showed otherwise. The difficulty you (umpires) have is you’ve got to watch batsmen completing runs, then change focus and watch for the ball being picked up, and watch for the release (of the throw).
“You also have to watch where the batsmen are at that exact moment... it’s unfair on England, New Zealand and the umpires involved to say it decided the outcome."
The result at Lord’s left heartbroken New Zealanders expressing not only pride in the Black Caps’ fighting spirit, but also bemusement at the obscure rules that cost them the match.
As Kiwi fans absorbed a second straight loss in the tournament decider, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was concentrating on the positives.
“That was undeniably an incredible game. I think as a nation we all aged a year in that Super Over," she posted on social media. “Congratulations to England. And to the Black Caps, I feel nothing but pride. What a team."
But her sports minister Grant Robertson questioned the tie-break method.
“What an extraordinary game. Not sure Super Over is the right end," he tweeted. “Whatever, NZ you can be so, so proud of this team."
Former Black Cap Scott Styris labelled governing body the ICC “a joke" over the rules but congratulated both teams for their stunning efforts.
Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming’s one-word reaction to the result was “cruel", while even the father of England’s Kiwi-born match-winner Ben Stokes felt the Kiwis were hard done by.
Gerard Stokes, a former New Zealand rugby league international who took his son to England as a boy while he pursued his career, said honours were even. “It’s a shame there has to be a loser," he told the New Zealand Herald. “They could have shared the trophy but that doesn’t seem to be how things are done these days."
The mood couldn’t have been more different in England.
Captain Eoin Morgan hoped his side’s “incredible journey" would inspire a new generation of fans in the sport’s birthplace. “I certainly hope participation levels go up or continue to rise," said Morgan, who oversaw England’s climb from the depths of a miserable first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.
Morgan, asked if the final would have resonated far beyond cricket’s core audience, replied: “I hope so. Obviously today is a big day of sport with Wimbledon and the Silverstone GP going on.
“But with Sunday evening, people normally settle in for a bit of (naturalist) David Attenborough or some random film that’s on, so I hope they were tuned into the cricket."
Queen Elizabeth II joined in the celebrations with a message to the team. “Prince Philip and I send our warmest congratulations to the England Men’s Cricket team after such a thrilling victory in today’s World Cup final. I also extend my commiserations to the runners-up New Zealand, who competed so admirably in today’s contest and throughout the tournament," she wrote. reuters
AFP contributed to this story.