NEW DELHI: The 2019 ICC World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday was tantalisingly poised. England needed nine runs from three balls, which meant New Zealand had their noses in front ever so slightly. But what happened off the next ball not only tilted the scales in favour of the hosts but also triggered a debate over whether an umpiring error cost the Kiwis the World Cup.
But many are pointing to a clause in the ICC handbook. Citing it to argue that the umpires should have awarded five runs and not six.
This is what the rule states:
Rule 19.8: Overthrow or wilful act of fielder
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.
The same has also been pointed out by former ICC umpire Simon Taufel, who was widely regarded as one of the best international umpires ever. He is also a member of the MCC laws sub-committee.
Taufel, a five-time winner of the ICC Umpire of the Year award (2004-2008) told Fox Sports Australia, “They should have been awarded five runs, not six,” adding that England’s Adil Rashid should have faced the second-last ball of the last over of the England innings in regulation play instead of Stokes as a result.
Taufel went on to say, “Unfortunately that sort of thing happens from time to time. It’s a part of the game that we play,”
“I don’t wish to nitpick, just hope it never happens in such moments ever again.”
Taufel feels England should have been awarded five runs instead of six because at the point when Guptill threw the ball, the batsmen were yet to cross for the second run.
However, another school of thought is that the interpretation of this rule could be that the sixth run should be awarded, since the rule states the word ‘act’, which could be the moment when the ball deflected off Stokes’ bat. When the ball hit Stokes’ bat, he was already in the crease and the two batsmen had crossed. No doubt, there is enough room for ambiguity here.
The match ended in a tie, with both the teams finishing with 241 runs. A Super Over was played to break the tie, but the deadlock remained as both teams made 15 runs each. As a result, and according to the tournament rules, England were declared winners on the basis of a better boundary count of 26, compared to New Zealand’s 17.