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Umpiring error cost New Zealand World Cup?

Last updated on: July 15, 2019 19:30 IST

'It’s a clear mistake … it’s an error of judgment.'

IMAGE: Ben Stokes apologises after Martin Guptill's throw from deep midwicket ricocheted off his bat and flew to the boundary for a total of six overthrows. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Former international umpire Simon Taufel claimed that a 'clear mistake' was made by the umpires in the Sunday's ICC World Cup final, which saw England edge past New Zealand on boundaries after a tied Super Over.

"It’s a clear mistake … it’s an error of judgment," Taufel told on Monday. "They (England) should have been awarded five runs, not six."


Taufel, a member of the MCC laws sub-committee, said England should have been awarded five runs -- instead of six -- when a throw from Martin Guptill from deep midwicket struck Ben Stokes' bat and deflected behind the wickets for a boundary.

England were awarded six overthrows -- four for the resulting boundary and two for the batsmen's accrued runs.

According to Taufel, the umpires made 'an error of judgment' in applying an obscure clause in the MCC's laws -- which both awarded England an extra run and importantly also kept Stokes on strike.

MCC's law 19.8, which deals with overthrows, says: "If the boundary results from an overthrow... runs scored shall be any runs for penalties awarded... and allowance for the boundary, and runs completed by batsmen, together with the run in progress if they had already crossed at the instant of the throw or act."

Given that the batsman had not crossed for their second run at the instant Guptill threw the ball, that run should not have counted.

Also, if the umpires had applied that ruling, it would have meant that instead of needing three runs from the last two balls, England would have needed four.

Additionally, that would have seen the two batsmen swap sides for the next delivery given that they did not cross at the time of the throw.

That would have meant that tailender Adil Rashid, and not Ben Stokes, would have been on strike to face the second last ball.

Stokes picked singles off the last two balls as his partner Rashid and Mark Wood were also run out to take the match into the Super Over.

However, Taufel -- a five-time winner of the ICC's Umpire of the Year award -- defended the two on-field umpires Marais Erasmus and Kumar Dharmasena. He believes that the moment involved so many moving parts, and said it is unfair on the umpires and both teams to say that was the moment that decided the match.

"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 stated.

"You also have to watch where the batsmen are at that exact moment."

The Australian acknowledged the call "influenced the game", but said it should not be viewed as 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.

"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," a spokesperson for the governing International Cricket Council said.

New Zealand's heartbroken captain Kane Williamson agreed with that it was unfair to blame the overthrow for New Zealand's loss in the final.

"It was a shame that the ball hit Stokes’ bat, but I just hope it doesn’t happen in moments like that," he said after the match.

"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.