The World Cup Final between England and New Zealand will go down as the greatest cricket final in history, if not the greatest match ever. But the nerve wracking spectacle might have been built on top of an error of judgment rather than a doing of fate.
The turning point came in the last over of the regular play of the final. England needed 9 runs of 3 balls. As Ben Stoke drove on to mid-on and scampered back for a second run, the match changing moment came. As Martin Guptill lofted a throw, it deflected off Stokes’s bat and ran to the boundary. Umpire Kumar Dharmasena, who came in despite a gaffe in the semi-final signaled a total of six runs.
But he might have given an extra run to England to take the final into a super over. At least former umpire Simon Taufel seems to think so.
“They (England) should have been awarded five runs, not six. It’s a clear mistake, it’s an error of judgment.” Taufel added that it was understandable that such an error was made in the heat of the moment and in the midst of a very excited atmosphere.
Cricket website ESPNCricinfo was the first to start the debate by posting the clause from the International Cricket Council (ICC) rulebook that relates to the incidence of an overthrow: Law 19.8. The discussion can lend a new dimension to how the final is being seen.
The law states: “If the boundary results from an overthrow or from the wilful act of a fielder, the runs scored shall be any runs for penalties awarded to either side, and the allowance for the boundary, and the runs completed by the batsmen, together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the throw or act.”
Replays and screen grabs from the final over have shown that the batsman had in fact not crossed at the time of Guptill made the throw. In that case, England should have been awarded five runs instead of six. This would also put Adil Rashid on strike instead of Stokes. This could in turn have avoided the super over all together.
While it did make them champions, English players were aware that the six runs were a strke of luck. Captain Eoin Morgan said he did not cheer when it happened, because they could have been at the receiving end too. While Stokes said that he told Kane Williamson that he would apologize about it for the rest of his life.
— ICC Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) July 14, 2019
New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson said this incident was the key ‘uncontrollable’ in the final, but there were many things that went wrong.