New Zealand coach wants rules review after 'hollow' World Cup defeat

July 16, 2019

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"I'm sure when they were writing the rules they never expected a World Cup final to happen like that,” says New Zealand coach Gary Stead. — AP/File
"I'm sure when they were writing the rules they never expected a World Cup final to happen like that,” says New Zealand coach Gary Stead. — AP/File

New Zealand coach Gary Stead has called for the Cricket World Cup's rules to be overhauled, labelling the showpiece final “hollow” after England defeated the Black Caps on a technicality.

The teams could not be separated at the end of both regular play and a Super Over shootout, so England were handed victory because they had a superior boundary count.

“It's a very, very hollow feeling that you can play 100 overs and score the same amount of runs and still lose the game, but that's the technicalities of sport,” Stead told reporters in remarks released by New Zealand Cricket on Tuesday.

Also read: Six or five runs for Ben Stokes? Overthrow controversy in last over of World Cup final

He said such a thrilling match, which has been hailed by many experts as the greatest one-day game in history, deserved a better way to determine the result.

“There's going to be many things they look at over the whole tournament — I'm sure when they were writing the rules they never expected a World Cup final to happen like that,” he said.

“I'm sure it'll be reviewed (and) there's many different ways that they'll probably explore.”

Stead shrugged off suggestions England had been mistakenly handed an extra run after a throw from a fielder hit the bat of a diving Ben Stokes' and deflected to the boundary in the final over of regular play.

England were awarded six runs but former umpire Simon Taufel said they should only have got five as the batsmen had not crossed for their second run when the throw was made.

Taufel told Fox Sports Australia that the umpires had made a “clear mistake”, as the batsmen had not crossed for their second run when the ball was thrown in by the fielder.

“They should have been awarded five runs, not six,” he said, adding that England's Adil Rashid should have faced the second-last ball instead of Stokes.

“I didn't actually know that,” Stead said about the freak fielding incident. “But at the end of the day the umpires are there to rule.

“They're human as well, like players, and sometimes there's a mistake but that's just the human aspect of sport.”

'We are world champions'

England director of cricket Ashley Giles, when asked if he was concerned about Taufel's comments, said on Monday: “Not really.”

The former England spinner added: “You could argue the last ball that (Trent) Boult bowled was a full toss on leg stump and if Stokes hadn't just been looking for two, he probably would've banged it out of the ground anyway.

“We are world champions; we have got the trophy and we intend to keep it.”

'We didn't lose'

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson pointed out his team was not defeated on the pitch, saying it instead fell victim to “fine print” in the rules.

He said that was a shame but the New Zealanders had signed up to the rules that governed the tournament.

“At the end of the day nothing separated us, no one lost the final, but there was a crowned winner and there it is,” he told Newstalk ZB.

The New Zealand captain and his teammates have been widely praised for the grace with which they accepted the gut-wrenching defeat.

“Williamson has shown sports fans and elite athletes alike how to behave with humility, how to accept heartbreak,” stuff.co.nz columnist Kevin Norquay wrote.

“You don't need to smash your equipment, yell at the umpire, or swear at and threaten rival batsmen, even with the stress of a World Cup on your mind; this news will be foreign territory to some.”

There have been calls in New Zealand to give the team a ticker-tape parade, regardless of the result.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that was unlikely but she wanted to ensure that the players received “a heroes' welcome” when they returned to the country.

New Zealand Cricket said they were in discussions with the government about when that would take place.

“At the moment, however, with some players arriving back at different times, some not arriving back at all, and others having alternative playing commitments, it's just not practical,” they said.

“Hopefully, given the interest surrounding this, we can organise something appropriate in the weeks to come. “