World Cup final, England vs New Zealand: Should England have got five, not six for overthrows? What rules say
England’s remarkable journey which began when they were ousted in the group stages back in 2015 to lifting the trophy this year has been nothing short of extraordinary. They have been the master of their own fate, barring a huge moment of luck in the finale. Ben Stokes, who was the man assigned with the task of dragging his side over the line, was playing an absolute stunning innings and destiny too chipped in to make his task easier.
England needed 15 runs off the final over, the first two ball bowled by Trent Boult were dots. Stokes premeditated the third ball, shuffled across and almost swept a full ball on off over deep mid-wicket. The equation had shrunk to 9 off 3 balls. Stokes then tapped a full ball towards mid-wicket and sprinted. Martin Guptill pounced on the ball and hurled a throw towards the striker’s end. The batsman put in a desperate dive and stuck his bat out to reach the crease. As fate would have it, Guptill’s throw found Stokes’ bat and deflected past short fine leg and screamed away to the fence. 6 runs ensued all along the ground and the equation read 3 off the final two balls.
The spotlight was now on the umpires, they were not having an entirely memorable match as well and in consultation with his colleagues, Kumar Dharmasena signalled six runs for the incident, meaning that England - who were staring down the barrel suddenly found hope. 2 more runs followed which resulted in a super over and the mad scenes continued even when the super over was tied.
Now, we take a look at Law 19.8 which speaks about “Overthrow or wilful act of fielder”.
The law states: “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 final line is the grey area, but on replays it was revealed that when Guptill picked up the ball Stokes was still at the non-striker’s end and Adil Rashid was at the striker’s end. There is no clarity over the throw or act, but the law does not speak about the role of batsman during the entire process.
The ICC, though, is not expected to make any comment on the matter. “As per official policy, no comments are made on umpiring decisions,” an ICC spokesperson informed Hindustan Times.
In a world of black and white, this grey shade potentially robbed New Zealand the World Cup and the skipper conceded that he would not want this to happen anytime in such a crunch game.
“It was a shame that the ball hit Stokes’ bat, but I just hope it doesn’t happen in moments like that,” Williamson said after England edged New Zealand in the Super Over thriller and clinched the World Cup 2019 finale on higher boundary count. “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,” the disappointed skipper added.