Wanaka – Last year’s electrifying Cricket World Cup final between England and New Zealand was destroyed by a manufactured rule which extinguished and dishonoured the whole event, former New Zealand cricket captain and coach Glenn Turner says.
The status of the event coupled with the closeness and neither team being able to outplay the other was captivating and exhilarating.
The resultant tie was a fitting climax to a 600-ball contest, Turner says in his latest book, with co-author Lynn McConnell, Cricket’s Global Warming.
He says a tied ending was a dream result for the game of cricket. It would be hard to find any plausible reasons to manipulate a change in the result if the integrity of the game was to remain undamaged. Then the game was decided on which team hit the most boundaries: England.
“The players and the supporters of both teams would have understood and accepted that justice had been served for both teams to share the title. The vast majority of the world of cricket would have applauded a shared title.
“It beggars belief that the International Cricket Council (ICC) would even contemplate resorting to what could only be regarded as fanciful imaginary rules to alter the result. The members of the so-called winning team should feel deflated by the hollowness of the result.
“What relevance does a super over have to do with singling out something that happened in the match, other than wanting to find a single winner?
The hundredth and final over of the match, and the subsequent super over, contained an astonishing range of the glorious uncertainties of cricket. How could so much luck, fortune and chance be delivered over the course of a mere six balls?
“The 100th and final over had England eight wickets down requiring 15 runs for victory, with Stokes on 70 and on strike. With nine runs required, Ben Stokes hit the fourth ball to wide mid-on, deep enough for Stokes to attempt a second run in order to retain the strike.
“Martin Guptill’s throw was strong and accurate. Recognising the danger, Stokes dived full length in attempting to make his ground. This was the moment when randomness took over to a level of consequences that no one could ever have conceived.
“The throw cannoned off the outstretched bat of Stokes travelling all the way to the boundary, triggering a bizarre course of events. The umpire signalled six runs when the correct call should have been five.
“The law states that the batsmen needed to have crossed for the second run before the ball left the fielder’s hand (which was not the case) for the extra run to count. What is more if the correct call had been made, other than Stokes being given out, Rashid would have been on strike, not Stokes.”
In the aftermath, Umpire Kumar Dharmasena said there was a judgmental error when he later saw the TV replays.
Turner says the real clincher that muddied the waters (had it been picked up at the time) was that Stokes had deliberately obstructed the field because he ‘did significantly change his direction without probable cause and thereby obstructed a fielder’s attempt to effect a run out.
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