London: England were mistakenly awarded a crucial extra run during their World Cup victory over New Zealand on Sunday. Eoin Morgan's side needed nine runs off three balls when Ben Stokes hit the ball towards the boundary. The players quickly ran a single. As they started for a second run, the fielder threw the ball in before the two batsmen had crossed in the middle. They soon crossed while the ball was in the air, then Stokes desperately dived to avoid being run out. In doing so, the ball ricocheted off his bat and went to the boundary. The umpires awarded six runs, for the two runs completed by the batsmen and four extra runs for the ball hitting the boundary.
Now it has been revealed the second run completed by the batsmen should NOT have been awarded because the players had not crossed in the middle before the ball was thrown by the fielder. The outcome was a tie with England winning in the Super Over. According to Simon Taufel, who has been named ICC's Umpire of the Year on five occasions, the extraordinary incident enabled England to match New Zealand's score of 241 from the final delivery; however, it would have been one run short if the umpires had strictly followed the rules. Echoing Taufel's view was former Indian umpire K Hariharan. "Kumar Dharmasena killed the World Cup for New Zealand. It should have been five runs not six," he told PTI.
The ICC refused to make a comment with a spokesperson simply saying, "The umpires take decisions in the field of play with their interpretations of the rules and we don't comment on any decisions as a matter of policy." "...The umpires needed to check if at the point of throw the two batsmen had crossed each other or not. If we see that replay, when the throw came, the two batsmen had barely started the second run," Hariharan observed."That run can never be counted. It was duty of square leg umpire (Marius) Erasmus to consult the TV umpire and change the decision. Stokes shouldn't have been on strike the next ball," he added.
Taufel, a highly-regarded ex-Australian umpire, is now a part of the MCC's laws sub-committee that makes the rules governing cricket. The bizarre incident took place on the fourth ball of the final over at the Lord's. But even as Taufel acknowledged the mistaken call "influenced the game" he added, "But it is unfair to England, New Zealand and the umpires involved to say it decided the outcome". Ben Stokes, who was born in New Zealand, joked that he will be 'apologising for the rest of my life' after the incredible sequence of events that helped him score 14 runs off the final over to tie the game - and then claim a historic victory for England in the subsequent super over.