Kumar Dharmasena, who along with Marais Erasmus was the onfield umpire in the summit clash of the 2019 World Cup where England were facing New Zealand, admitted on Sunday that he made a mistake by awarding an extra run to England after the ball raced to the boundary after deflecting from Ben Stokes’ bat.
“It’s easy for people to comment after seeing TV replays,” Dharmasena told Sri Lankan weekly The Sunday Times.
“I agree that there was a judgmental error when I see it on TV replays now. But we did not have the luxury of TV replays at the ground and I will never regret the decision I made. Besides, the ICC praised me for the decision I made at that time,” he was quoted as saying.
On 16 July, England were chasing a target of 242 set by New Zealand in the World Cup final. Stokes went for a double off the third ball of the final over with his team needing nine runs to win. But Martin Guptill’s throw from deep mid-wicket ricocheted off a diving Stokes’ bat and ran away to the boundary.
Dharmasena had signalled six runs with Stokes having seemingly completed the second run. However, law 19.8 of the cricket rulebook pertaining to overthrows 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.”
Television replays showed that Stokes and non-striker Adil Rashid had not crossed when the throw came in from Guptill and hence Dharmasena should have awarded England five runs, instead of six.
But the wrong decision from the umpire significantly worked in England’s favour because the match got tied after the conclusion of England’s innings 50 overs. Following which, a Super Over was played and that too ended in a tie but England became the eventual winners on boundary count.
Had Dharmasana given the right decision that is 5 runs on the overthrow instead of 6, the match could have gone either way.