Sports Desk: The gut-wrenching final at Lord’s, visceral, brutal, and explosive, was adjudged by a thoughtless, arbitrary number of boundaries rule, that actually overlooked which team had lost less wickets in a tie after 100 captivating tension-filled overs.
The World Cup should have been shared between England and New Zealand and it’s still not too late to right a grievous wrong that so cruelly denied the gallant Kiwis.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead is open to the idea of a shared World Cup if the ICC, with an open mind, decides to re-look the events and circumstances of that epic Sunday that left millions of aficionados, cutting through barriers, feeling justice had not been done.
Former Sri Lankan World Cup winning coach Dav Whatmore echoed similar words and said, “Sharing the Trophy would be the right thing to do but I don’t know whether it is possible. This is the first time I have heard of a game being decided on the basis of boundaries.”
New Zealand lost by zero runs in both regular play and the Super Over, and was, unlike England, not bowled out during normal play.
Then it emerged that the final over’s pivotal moment - that left the luckless New Zealand devastated - when the ball rocketed off the desperately diving Ben Stokes’ bat and shot past the ropes, was marred by a match-turning umpiring error.
The umpires awarded six runs which as celebrated umpire Simon Taufel revealed later, was a clear mistake. The batsmen had not crossed for the second run when Martin Guptill unleashed his throw and the umpires should have awarded England five runs and not six.
This also meant Adil Rashid would have been on strike and not the influential Stokes. These ‘game-changing’ umpiring mistakes hurt New Zealand in a game of such fine margins.
The umpires could have taken their time and referred the contentional extra run to the television umpire. Surely, they would have been aware of the rules.
In a game as big as this, the ICC should have left nothing to chance. At least, it could have continued with Super Overs until a conclusive result was reached much like penalty kicks in football that go on till a winner is found. “This is actually a good idea,” said Whatmore.
The never-say-die New Zealanders, gutsy, nerveless, skilful, full of grace and poise under extreme pressure, have been done in by a bizarre set of rules and questionable umpiring. Now, the ball is in ICC’s court.
risingbd/July 17, 2019/Mukul