England’s victory over New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup final was one of the most dramatic moments the sporting world has ever witnessed.
But according to one former umpire, the host nation benefited from what he called a “clear mistake” on its way to glory in a pulsating Super Over at Lord’s on Sunday.
Simon Taufel, a former Australian umpire who has been named as the International Cricket Council’s Umpire of the Year on five occasions, believes England was given an unfair advantage after failure to implement the correct rules.
England drew level with New Zealand’s total of 241 from the final delivery of its 50 overs, but it was in the final over where it was awarded six runs that Taufel believes the error was made.
And at least one Australian bookmaker has announced it will refund customers who put money on New Zealand to win the World Cup with local media citing a company spokesman labeling the way the final was decided as an “absolute disgrace.”
With the host nation requiring nine from the final three deliveries, Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid pushed for a second run when a throw from a fielder deflected off Stokes’ bat and away to the boundary for four. That four plus the two runs meant England accrued six runs.
But Taufel says England should have been awarded five runs, not six.
“It’s a clear mistake. It’s an error of judgment,” he told Foxsports.com.au.
“In the heat of what was going on, (the umpires) thought there was a good chance the batsmen had crossed at the instant of the throw. Obviously TV replays showed otherwise.
“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 added. “You also have to watch where the batsmen are at that exact moment.”
While acknowledging that the incident “influenced the game,” Taufel stopped short of claiming it was responsible for costing New Zealand the World Cup.
“It’s unfair on England, New Zealand and the umpires involved to say it decided the outcome,” Taufel said.
England went on to the win World Cup in the Super Over.
Law 19.8 of the notoriously complex cricket rulebook, pertaining to “Overthrow or wilful act of fielder,” says: “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.”
Television replays showed Stokes and Rashid had not crossed when the throw came in from the fielder Martin Guptill.
The ICC declined to comment when approached by CNN.
Speaking immediately after the game, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson refused to apportion blame for the incident.
“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.”