ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Ex-umpire questions pivotal Stokes ruling
Simon Taufel and an explainer from the MCC indicate umpires erred in awarding six runs and allowing Ben Stokes to take strike for penultimate delivery
15 July 2019, 06:40 PM AEST
Respected former international umpire Simon Taufel says officials erred in their interpretation of a pivotal moment late in England’s thrilling World Cup final win over New Zealand on Sunday.
But he added it would be wrong the say the incident was the deciding factor in a thrilling match, which finished with England being crowned world champions for the first time.
England received an incredible slice of good fortune midway through the final over of their innings when a throw from Kiwi fielder Martin Guptill deflected off the bat of Ben Stokes and rolled into the boundary rope.
England were awarded a total of six runs for the incident and match-winner Stokes took strike for the next delivery with three runs needed to win from the final two balls.
But Taufel, a five-time ICC Umpire of the Year, says England should have been awarded five runs for the incident, not six, and that tail-ender Adil Rashid should have been on strike for the penultimate delivery of the innings instead of Stokes.
His view is supported by an interpretation of the Laws of Cricket in an E-Learning program on the website of the MCC, who are the custodians of the game’s laws.
Taufel’s interpretation means England would have required four runs to win from the last two balls of the innings with Rashid on strike, instead of three runs to win with Stokes on strike.
Umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus added six runs following the bizarre incident, seemingly the four runs because the ball reached the boundary plus the two completed by the batsmen.
Their ruling was an interpretation of Rule 19.8 of the Laws of Cricket which states, in part, that the batting team should be awarded runs for "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 use of the terms “throw or act” could be interpreted one of two ways in this instance, leading to two different outcomes. The ‘throw’ from Guptill came before the England batsmen had crossed for their second run, meaning only five runs should have been added to the total. But if ‘the act’ is interpreted as being the moment the ball struck the bat of Stokes, the batsmen had crossed for their second run and the umpires were correct in awarding a total of six runs.
But an explainer page on the MCC’s Laws of Cricket website regarding Law 19 says, in part, that the runs scored will be "the allowance for the boundary … all runs completed before the throw plus the run in progress if the batsmen have crossed at the instance of the throw".
In this case, it indicates England should have been awarded the allowance for the boundary (four runs), all runs completed before the throw (one run) but no more runs because the instance of the throw came before the batsmen had crossed.
In addition, the explainer page says: "the umpires will have to ensure that the batsmen are at the right end for the next delivery (ie. Ignoring penalty runs, if the total number of runs scored is an even number, the batsmen should be at the original ends for the next delivery)".
This indicates that, on the basis of six runs being added to the total, the umpires were right to allow Stokes to resume the strike. But if five runs were added to the total, as Taufel suggests should have been the case, Rashid would have had to have been on strike.
The MCC and ICC both declined to comment when asked by cricket.com.au.
While Taufel believes the umpires made an error, he defended the officials given the high-intensity finish to an extraordinary match.
"They (England) should have been awarded five runs, not six," Taufel told foxsports.com.au. "It’s a clear mistake … it’s an error of judgment.
"In the heat of what was going on, they thought there was a good chance the batsmen had crossed at the instant of the throw.
"Obviously TV replays showed otherwise."
A sporting agreement has traditionally dictated that once a throw rebounds off a batsman or bat that no further runs are taken. However there is no official rule to protect this, and the umpires had no choice but to award the extra four runs to Stokes once the ball had hit the rope.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said regardless of the game's traditions, it wasn't a time to push for a change in the rules to prohibit runs from being awarded after a batsman is hit.
"That was a little bit of a shame, wasn't it," he said. "You just hope it doesn't happen at moments like that. Perhaps it wasn't meant to be for us.
"The rule has been there for a long time. I don't think anything like that's happened (before) where you now question it.
"There were so many other bits and pieces to that game that were so important."
Stokes immediately raised his hands to apologise for the incident, with the England allrounder clearly having no intention to deflect the ball.
"I will be apologising to Kane for the rest of my life … it was written in the stars to happen for us," he said.
- with AAP