The night of July 14 was historic for England. The hosts lifted their maiden World Cup after struggling for 44 years to be called the World Champions. However, the way their final match against New Zealand ended raised quite a few eyebrows across the world.
In a dramatic encounter on Sunday, it all came down to the final over with England needing nine runs from three balls, when Ben Stokes hit Trent Boult to the deep. The return from Martin Guptill hit Stokes’ bat as he dived to complete his second run. Hitting the bat, the ball went to the ropes giving away an additional boundary to England.
The match ended in tie and according to the rules, the teams played a Super Over to decide the fate of the game. England lifted their maiden World Cup trophy based on boundary counts after the Super Over too ended in a tie with both the teams scoring 15 runs off six balls. England had hit 26 boundaries while the Kiwis hit 17.
The rule of deciding the fate of an important match, like a World Cup final, by counting who hit more boundaries was unjust, claimed several senior cricketers and supporters.
In a tweet, former Indian batsman and MP Gautam Gambhir called out the ICC for this “ridiculous” rule. “Don’t understand how the game of such proportions, the #CWC19Final, is finally decided on who scored the most boundaries. A ridiculous rule @ICC. Should have been a tie. I want to congratulate both @BLACKCAPS & @englandcricket on playing out a nail biting Final,” Gambhir tweeted.
Don't understand how the game of such proportions, the #CWC19Final, is finally decided on who scored the most boundaries. A ridiculous rule @ICC. Should have been a tie. I want to congratulate both @BLACKCAPS & @englandcricket on playing out a nail biting Final. Both winners imo.
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) July 14, 2019
Former batsman Yuvraj Singh too disagreed with the ICC rule. “I don’t agree with that rule! But rules are rules congratulations to England on finally winning the World Cup, my heart goes out for the Kiwis they fought till the end. Great game an epic final!!!! #CWC19Final,” he tweeted.
Batsman Rohit Sharma too felt that “some rules in cricket definitely needs a serious look in.”
Some rules in cricket definitely needs a serious look in.
— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) July 15, 2019
The New Zealand media felt that the Kiwis were “robbed” of their maiden World Cup glory. The headline of New Zealand Herald on Monday read, “Any given Monday: The Cricket World Cup final with 22 heroes and no winner.”
Former Kiwis coach Mike Hesson wrote in his column on stuff.co.nz, “Super Over was a terrible way of deciding a big event like the World Cup.” He believes that skippers Kane Williamson and Eoin Morgan should have jointly lifted the cup at Lord’s.
Hesson said a Super Over is best suited to decide a winner in the knock-out stages of a tournament but not for the title clash.
Former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris called ICC a joke. “Nice work @ICC … you are a joke,” he wrote.
Nice work @ICC … you are a joke!!!
— Scott Styris (@scottbstyris) July 14, 2019
Win or not, they remain heroes
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who said she was “traumatised” due to the final outcome, plans to give a heroic welcome to the team. “I think probably like a lot of New Zealanders I’m still feeling quite traumatised by that match. But, regardless of that final outcome, I just feel incredibly proud of the Black Caps and I hope every New Zealander does because they played remarkable cricket across the course of that tournament, and they certainly did in that last match,” Ardern told Radio New Zealand.
Former Australian batsman Dean Jones also described the ICC rule as unfair. “The DL system is actually based on runs and wickets lost… yet the final result is only based on boundaries hit? Not fair in my opinion. Must have been great to watch,” he wrote.
The DL system is actually based on runs and wickets lost… yet the Final result is only based on Boundaries hit? Not fair in my opinion. Must have been great to watch!
— Dean Jones (@ProfDeano) July 14, 2019
Former New Zealand cricketers were also left disappointed by the rule, describing it as “absurd” and “unfortunate”.
Former Kiwis all-rounder Dion Nash told stuff.co.nz that he felt cheated after the finals, however, later he mentioned that there was no point in complaining as the rules were laid down way before the start of the tournament.
Kyle Mills, from the 2015 squad which lost its title to Australia, thinks that the decision could have been made on the basis of wickets lost. “I guess the game of cricket is about runs and wickets and when the runs are tied, it’d be ideal then to take it back to how many wickets were lost,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate. Those are the rules, we can’t complain.”
— Kyle Mills (@kylemills79) July 14, 2019
However, according to the cricket law 19.8 of “Overthrow or wilful act of fielder”, the second run should not have been counted and England should have scored five runs rather than six.
“If the boundary results from an overthrow or from the wilful act of a fielder, the runs scored shall be any runs for penalties awarded to either side, and the allowance for the boundary, and 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 law states.
But, if the much-speculated extra run was not granted, the Kiwis would still have one run in their kitty and there would have been no tie.
Despite all the Twitter outrage and media bashing, ICC has not commented on the issue yet.