The umpires made an “error of judgement” in awarding six runs, instead of five, to England for the overthrow that hit Ben Stokes’ bat and ran to the boundary, says Simon Taufel, confirming the story that ESPNcricinfo broke right after the World Cup 2019 final. Currently part of the MCC’s laws sub-committee that makes the rules governing cricket, Taufel told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald that England should have been awarded five runs, not six.
“It’s a clear mistake.. it’s an error of judgment,” Taufel said. “They (England) should have been awarded five runs, not six.
“The judgment error was the timing of when the fielder threw the ball. The act of the overthrow starts when the fielder releases the ball. That’s the act. It becomes an overthrow from the instant of the throw.”
Law 19.8, pertaining to “Overthrow or wilful act of fielder”, says: “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.”
A review of the footage of the incident – which took place off the fourth ball of the last over – shows clearly that, at the moment the ball was released by the New Zealand fielder, Martin Guptill, Stokes and his partner, Adil Rashid, had not yet crossed for their second run.
Taufel also said that Stokes and Rashid should have switched ends once the run was found to be incomplete – which meant Rashid would have played the fifth ball with three runs required to win. “They did not cross on their second run, at the instant of the throw. So given that scenario, five runs should have been the correct allocation of runs, and Ben Stokes should have been at the non-striker’s end for the next delivery.”
Taufel defended the officials though, saying the moment involved many things happening at the same time. “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,” Taufel said.
“Obviously TV replays showed otherwise. The difficulty you (umpires) have here is you’ve got to watch batsmen completing runs, then change focus and watch for the ball being picked up, and watch for the release (of the throw),” he said.
“You also have to watch where the batsmen are at that exact moment.”
The former umpire acknowledged the call “influenced the game”, but said it should not be viewed as costing New Zealand the match – and the tournament.
“It’s unfair on England, New Zealand and the umpires involved to say it decided the outcome,” Taufel said.