THE controversy surrounding the dramatic World Cup final at Lord’s last Sunday continues to reverberate in all cricket-playing nations, with many justifiably feeling that New Zealand were robbed of the title owing to a wretched rule and an umpire’s error which hoisted England as the new champion.
At one end, the criterion of awarding the World Cup to England over the number of boundaries hit after a tied Super Over is being hotly debated; at the other, the six runs awarded to the hosts over a ricocheted hit off Man of the Match Ben Stokes’ bat has become a major talking point.
Many experts, including the legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar and New Zealand’s current coach Gary Stead, have termed the boundary count rule ridiculous and have asked the ICC to immediately revisit it.
Some former players have also said that the trophy should have been shared or another Super Over allowed after the scores were tied.
However, New Zealand graciously accepted the verdict and chose not to raise the issue internationally.
As for the row over the extra run, the rule clearly states that five runs, and not six, should have been awarded to England in the given situation by umpire Kumar Dharmasena of Sri Lanka.
The umpire’s blunder was pointed out by the five-time ICC Umpire of the Year Simon Taufel of Australia, who indicated that the verdict influenced the game though it might not have affected the final result.
The extra run gave a definite advantage to England, or else the final would have been won by New Zealand.
The infamous rain rule in the 1992 World Cup that deprived South Africa of a well-deserved place in the finals should be mentioned; that rule was done away with, following protests from the competing teams.
What the current World Cup debate and New Zealand’s controversial defeat have brought into focus is that while the ICC may be a stickler for the ‘rules’, it will not exert itself to ensure justice.
Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2019