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World Cup Final | Umpires Should Have Awarded Five Runs & Stokes Should Have Been Non Striker

Karthik Lakshmanan |July 15, 2019, 3:54 PM IST
World Cup Final | Umpires Should Have Awarded Five Runs & Stokes Should Have Been Non Striker

One of the defining moments of the World Cup final between England and New Zealand came in the final over when a throw from the deep deflected off Ben Stokes' bat and went away for a boundary, resulting in six runs being awarded to the home team. England went on to win the game on boundary count after the game, and the super over, was tied.

On the fourth ball of the final over, with England needing nine runs from three balls, Stokes hit the ball towards Martin Guptill in the deep and rushed for two. Guptill's throw hit Stokes' bat and went away for four overthrows. The umpires got together and decided to award six runs to England, thus bringing down the equation to 3 runs off final 2 balls.

However, it appears that the umpires - Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus - might have made an error in judgment giving England an extra run as the batsmen had not crossed on their second run when Guptill released the ball.

According to Law 19.8, pertaining to "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 wording of the law is slightly arbitrary, leading to various interpretations. Essentially, there are doubts on whether 'crossed at instant of throw' is applicable only for 'run in progress'. In this case, when Guptill threw the ball, both the batsmen were in the process of completing two and had done that when the ball eventually went for a boundary.

However, the e-learning module available on the MCC website makes it clear that the only factor in play is the time of throw.

Law overthrow

More crucially, Stokes should have been at the non-striker's end for the subsequent ball with his partner Adil Rashid taking strike according to law 18.12.2 which is applicable along with the overthrow rules.

Law 18.12.2, pertaining to 'batsmen returning to wicket he/she left' reads:

"If, while a run is in progress, the ball becomes dead for any reason other than the dismissal of a batsman, the batsmen shall return to the wickets they had left, but only if they had not already crossed in running when the ball became dead."

Both captains were asked about the incident, before these interpretations of the law became a discussion point.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said, "The rule has been there for a long time. I don't think anything like that's happened where you now question it. But look, it's -- you can't sort of look at that and think that perhaps that decided the match."

England captain Eoin Morgan meanwhile said that he first couldn't figure out what happened but it wasn't something he celebrated or cheered.

"I was trying to stay in the moment. I wasn't celebrating. It is not something you celebrate or cheer, well I don't because that could be us on the other side of it, and there's margins like that today that we spoke about. "

The ICC refused to comment on the issue.

"The umpires take decisions on the field with their interpretation of the rules and we don’t comment on any decisions as a matter of policy," an ICC spokesperson told CricketNext.

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