The 2019 World Cup Final is touted as one of the best games ever in the history of the gentlemen’s game. It was indeed a lip-smacking and mouthwatering encounter as none of the two teams had ever won the World Cup. In the end, England lifted the trophy and ever since then, there have been tweets after tweets and speculations after speculations as to whether England really deserved to win.
And one man who has been in the spotlight of late for the wrong reasons is the Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena. He has admitted an umpiring ‘error’ as he had awarded six overthrow runs to England instead of five. What followed was a bane for New Zealand and a boon for England. The stipulated 50-overs and the Super Over both ended in a tie. But as a result of the ICC’s boundary count rule, England ended up winning the 2019 World Cup.
However, according to the British media, Ben Stokes had requested Dharmasena to withdraw the four free overthrow runs which came due to a deflection off Stokes’ bat.
This is exactly what former England player James Anderson told BBC’s Tailenders podcast:
“I think, talking to Michael Vaughan who saw him after the game, Ben Stokes actually went to the umpires and said, ‘Can you take that four runs off. We don’t want it.’ But it’s in the rules and that’s the way it is.”
“The etiquette in cricket is if the ball is thrown at the stumps and it hits you and goes into a gap in the field you don’t run. But if it goes to the boundary, in the rules it’s four and you can’t do anything about it,” Anderson added.
However, Dharmasena vehemently denied Stokes requesting the withdrawal of the four freebies. He also went on to say that ICC must change the rule.
“I made a judgmental call after consulting with my colleague Marais Erasmus. The decision was like calling a no-ball or a wide-ball and I couldn’t consult the third umpire,” said Dharmasena. “I was 100 per cent sure that the batsmen had crossed. It looked as if he had almost reached the popping crease. I admit that the rule has to change and I also admit that I was wrong.”
“If the ball hits the stumps and goes for four, then it’s fine but the moment the ball hits the bat or the batsmen, it should be a dead ball.”
After that particular incident, former Australian Umpire Simon Taufel criticized the umpires for such a massive error in the final as Adil Rashid hadn’t even made it to the non-striker’s crease after the ball had been thrown by the fielder.