'Clear mistake': Was crucial Cricket World Cup ruling incorrect?

The validity of the bizarre six-run incident that revived England's hopes in Sunday's World Cup final victory over New Zealand has been called into question.

And a decorated former international umpire has declared Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus, who were officiating the contest at Lord's, botched their big moment.

Needing nine runs from the final three balls for victory, England were handed a huge slice of luck when the ball ricocheted off Ben Stokes' bat while he was running and raced away to the boundary.

Stokes was coming back for a second run, so the umpires awarded England the two runs plus another four for the overthrows – six in total.

However, that ruling was questioned upon an inspection of the rulebook.

Under Law 19.8, "Overthrow or wilful act of fielder", it appears as though England should only have been awarded five runs, rather than six.

The ball hit Ben Stokes' bat and ricocheted for four, helping send the game to a super over. Image: Channel Nine

"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.

As Andrew Miller of ESPNCricinfo pointed out: "The crucial clause is the last part. A review of the footage of the incident 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.

"There is potential scope for ambiguity in the wording of the law, given that it references throw or 'act', which may pertain to the moment that the ball deflected off Stokes' bat. However, there is no reference to the batsman's actions at any other point in the Law."

While the ICC is yet to comment, retired Australian umpire Simon Taufel said Dharmasena and Erasmus made the wrong decision in failing to note that the batsmen had not crossed.

"(England) should have been awarded five runs, not six. It's a clear mistake," he told Fox Sports.

Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid hadn't crossed when the throw came in. Image: Channel Nine

He expanded on the umpires' mistake to The Age: "There was a judgment error on the overthrow. 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 (mentioned in the rule). It becomes an overthrow from the instant of the throw."

The umpires convened for a long period of time before play resumed after six runs had been added to England's total.

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Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup Final - New Zealand v England - Lord's, London, Britain - July 14, 2019 England's Eoin Morgan and teammates celebrate winning the world cup with the trophy Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra
England's captain Eoin Morgan is sprayed with champagne as he raises the trophy after winning the Cricket World Cup final match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London, Sunday, July 14, 2019. England won after a super over after the scores ended tied after 50 overs each. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
England's captain Eoin Morgan lifts the trophy after winning the Cricket World Cup final match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London, England, Sunday, July 14, 2019. England won the Cricket World Cup for the first time in extraordinary circumstances, beating New Zealand by a tiebreaker of boundaries scored after the match was tied after regulation play and then the first Super Over in the tournament's history. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup Final - New Zealand v England - Lord's, London, Britain - July 14, 2019 England's Eoin Morgan and teammates celebrate winning the world cup with the trophy Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra
England's captain Eoin Morgan is doused with champagne as he raises the trophy after winning the Cricket World Cup final match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London, Sunday, July 14, 2019. England won after a super over after the scores ended tied after 50 overs each. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
England's Ben Stokes celebrates after winning the Cricket World Cup final match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London, Sunday, July 14, 2019. England won after a super over after the scores ended tied after 50 overs each. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
England's Jos Buttler runs out New Zealand's Martin Guptill to win the Cricket World Cup final match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London, Sunday, July 14, 2019. England won after a super over after the scores ended tied after 50 overs each. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
England players mob Jofra Archer after he bowled the super over to win the Cricket World Cup final match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London, Sunday, July 14, 2019. England won after a super over after the scores ended tied after 50 overs each. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
England celebrate winning the ICC World Cup during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
Cricket - ICC Cricket World Cup Final - New Zealand v England - Lord's, London, Britain - July 14, 2019 England's Ben Stokes celebrates winning the World Cup Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra
England players celebrate on the pitch after winning the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
England players celebrate after winning the Cricket World Cup final match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London, Sunday, July 14, 2019. England won after a super over after the scores ended tied after 50 overs each. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
England's Ben Stokes in action during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
New Zealand's Trent Boult stumbles over the boundary during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
England's Liam Plunkett in action during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
New Zealand's Tom Latham takes the wicket of England's Chris Woakes (not pictured) during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
England's Ben Stokes during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
New Zealand's Tim Southee celebrates taking the wicket of Jos Buttler (not pictured) during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
New Zealand's Tim Southee takes the wicket of Jos Buttler (not pictured) during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
England's Ben Stokes during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
England's Ben Stokes slips whilst making a run during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
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New Zealand's Lockie Ferguson (right) celebrates with team-mates after catching out England's Eoin Morgan during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
New Zealand's Trent Boult during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
Fans react as they watch a big screen in the Fanzone at Trafalgar Square during the Cricket World Cup Final between New Zealand and England at the ICC Fanzone, London.
Fans react as they watch a big screen in the Fanzone at Trafalgar Square during the Cricket World Cup Final between New Zealand and England at the ICC Fanzone, London.
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New Zealand's Matt Henry bowls during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
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New Zealand's Kane Williamson during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
Shane Warne on the field between innings during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
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England's Jofra Archer during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
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Fans celebrate the fall of New Zealand's 5th wicket as they watch a big screen in the Fanzone at Trafalgar Square during the Cricket World Cup Final between New Zealand and England at the ICC Fanzone, London.
New Zealand's Colin de Grandhomme in batting action during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
England's Mark Wood during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
England's Mark Wood celebrates taking the wicket of Ross Taylor by LBW during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
England's Liam Plunkett (second right) celebrates taking the wicket of New Zealand's Kane Williamson, caught by Jos Buttler (63), during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
New Zealand's Henry Nicholls during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
New Zealand's Kane Williamson (left) in batting action as England's wicketkeeper Jos Buttler looks on during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
New Zealand's Henry Nicholls survives a run out attempt during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
Prime Minister Theresa May (centre, second row) with her husband Philip (second left, second row) and England's chief national cricket selector Ed Smith (far right, second row) in the stands during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
England captain Eoin Morgan (left) stands with his players for the national anthem ahead of during the ICC World Cup Final at Lord's, London.
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Taufel, who said the mistake should not be seen to have decided the World Cup, acknowledged the difficulties of officiating after such a rare event.

"What's unfortunate is that people think that umpiring is just about outs and not outs. They forget we make 1000s of decisions every match," he added.

"So it's unfortunate that there was a judgment error on the timing of the release of the ball and where the batsmen were. 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.

"We're not perfect. You've got the best two umpires in the elite panel doing the final. They're doing their best like the other two teams are. This is just part of the game."

Kane Williamson's classy take

A gentleman's rule 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 after the ball reached the boundary. and reduce the margin to three from two.

The margin was reduced to three runs from two balls and it pushed England towards the eventual tie and super over, before they officially won on a boundary countback.

But 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.

"The rule has been there for a long time," Williamson said.

"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 wasn't celebrating," England captain Eoin Morgan said.

"It is not something you celebrate or cheer."

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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