food-for-thought… the manner of deciding the winner when the game is tied even after a super over must be addressed, either by the number of wickets lost in the 50 overs; the winner between the two in the round robin; or the place in the table after the round robin stage. —Cricket expert, Neil Smith

By Roger Childs

World Cup cricket 3Even the most die-hard English fans would concede that their team was fortunate to win the World Cup Cricket trophy on their own. It was tied after 50 overs and tied after the “super overs”. Now the experts declare that the umpire erred in giving the English a total of six runs, after a very lucky deflection off Ben Stokes’s bat. He and Butler hadn’t crossed at the time of the deflection, so they should have gained just the five runs. There does need to be a rule change on chance deflections.

Reality and concerns

World cup cricket 4Nevertheless, the die is cast – England has the trophy and we were runners up. Before the “super over” stage started, it was made clear that if this resulted in a tie, the decision would be made on the basis of the team scoring the highest number of boundaries. That was England, so they have the trophy tucked away in the Lords cabinet.

However, questions remain on various issues. 

Boult’s first ball hit English opener, Jason Roy on the pads and the New Zealand team went up in a leg before wicket (lbw) appeal. The English umpire said “not out” so the Black Caps asked for a review. It showed that the ball would have hit the off stump high up. It was called “umpire’s decision” but, like hawkeye in the tennis where a millimetre on the line is “in”, even a ball hitting high on the off stump in a decision review should be out. The umpire in this instance however, was unmoved and stuck with his original decision.

As regards the Stokes ricochet, it seems incredibly unfair that a deflection off a batsmen running between wickets can count against the fielding side.

Rule changes needed?

World cup cricket 2The rules regarding overthrows should be amended to something along the lines of “if the ball hits any part of the batsman or his bat as part of an attempted run out, it immediately becomes dead ball, with no overthrows.” That would be fair and anyone who saw that final would surely agree.

As regards reviews, if an lbw review shows the ball “coming on” to hit the stumps, it should be out. Hawkeye is not questioned in tennis rulings and neither should the review process be queried in cricket.  If that was accepted, it would take the issue of possible umpire bias out of the equation.

Furthermore, as Neil states above, the way of deciding the final outcome in the event of ties needs to be looked at.  Doing it on the basis of boundaries implies that fours and sixes are more important than single, twos and threes. This does not seem fair and looking at the number of wickets conceded would be a much more acceptable process.

World Cup cricket 1Regardless of the outcome on Sunday, the Black Caps can hold their heads up high. The New Zealand team was not expected to make the final and only limped into the semis. Before the tournament started, many pundits picked an Australia – India final. However, they were not at Lords last weekend battling for the World Cup, but we were. The Black Caps did the nation proud.