Former international umpire and member of the committee that presides over cricket’s complex rulebook, Simon Taufel has admitted that awarding England six runs by virtue of an over throw in the final over was a “clear mistake”.
England needed nine runs off three deliveries when a throw from Martin Guptill accidentally hit Ben Stokes’ bat, when he was completing his second run, and ran away for four. The umpires then awarded England six runs, instead of five which according to Taufel, a member of the MCC laws sub-committee, was a mistake.
A former international umpire and member of the committee that presides over cricket’s notoriously complex rulebook has conceded a “clear mistake” was made on the path to England winning its first World Cup. This eventually kept Stokes on strike for the final two deliveries and also awarded England an extra run.
Australian Taufel claims that the umpires made an ‘error in judgement’ in applying the MCC laws.
Taufel, a five-time winner of the ICC’s Umpire of the Year award and widely viewed as one of the greatest umpires this century, said, “They (England) should have been awarded five runs, not six.”
“It’s a clear mistake. It’s an error of judgment,” Taufel told foxsports.com.au on Monday.
The relevant clause from the MCC rulebook is this:
Rule 19.8: Overthrow or willful act of fielder
If the boundary results from an overthrow or from the willful 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.
Taufel however did defend the umpires and said that there were too many moving factors at the time which makes it unfair on the on-field umpires.
“In the heat of what was going on, they thought there was a good chance the batsmen had crossed at the instant of the throw” Taufel added.
“Obviously TV replays showed otherwise.”
If the MCC laws were interpreted the way Taufel explained, then England would have needed four of the last two balls and Adil Rashid would have been on strike instead of Stokes.
Taufel praised experienced umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus as “the best of the best”, and explained the difficulty of umpiring the specific situation.
“The difficulty you (umpires) have here 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),” he said.
“You also have to watch where the batsmen are at that exact moment.”
The former umpire acknowledged the call “influenced the game”, but said it should not be viewed as costing New Zealand the match - and the tournament.
“It’s unfair on England, New Zealand and the umpires involved to say it decided the outcome,” Taufel said.
New Zealand’s captain Kane Williamson, who was visibly disappointed, echoed Taufel’s thoughts as well.
“It was a shame that the ball hit Stokes’ bat, but I just hope it doesn’t happen in moments like that,” Williamson said.
“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,” he added.