World Cup final: Over-throw did not decide the match, insists Williamson

With acclaimed former umpire Simon Taufel questioning the merit of awarding six for the over-throw and stressing that perhaps five was ideal, the last word is yet to be heard on this controversy.

Ben Stokes throws his hands up in the air after the ball accidentally deflected off his bat and went to the boundary for overthrows.   -  REUTERS

Shortly after England won the World Cup at New Zealand’s expense on Sunday, a meme began to do the rounds on WhatsApp, and it had a picture of Ben Stokes lying prone on the ground with an outstretched bat and the caption was: ‘The bat of God.’ It was a sly reference to ‘The hand of God’ phrase which Diego Maradona uttered after his upper limb played a distinct role while scoring a goal against England in the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarterfinal at Mexico City.

READ: Sport sometimes is about fine margins, says Morgan

Cut to the present when the fires raged and everyone was losing his head at Lord’s and even an aseptic press box began to show some emotion, in the nail-biting final over, Stokes slammed a six off Trent Boult. Off the next ball, the all-rounder swung hard towards mid-wicket and attempted a two. Martin Guptill’s throw zooming in at the striker’s end struck the outstretched willow held by Stokes and ricocheted to the boundary. England got six in the kitty (an all ran two plus an over-thrown four) and the summit clash slipped into a climax which will be spoken about for generations to come.

The sliver of luck, the ambit of sportsmanship and the rules pertaining to such over-throws came up for discussion with both captains. First up New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said: “The (over-throw) rule has been there for a long time. Well, you can't sort of look at that and think perhaps that decided the match. There were so many other bits and pieces to that game that were so important. When it comes down to a tie, you start looking at every single delivery, don't you? It was a pretty tough pill to swallow that when, yeah, with Trent bowling really well. It’s one of those things.”

READ: Over-throw did not decide the match, insists Williamson

Later, his England counterpart Eoin Morgan said: “I wasn't quite sure what had happened to start with because, obviously, he dived and there was dust everywhere and the ball deflected through and all the Black Caps standing around going ‘What's going on?’ So I was trying to figure out, did he hit it, did the keeper hit it? I was trying to stay in the moment. I wasn't celebrating. It is not something you celebrate or cheer, well I didn't because that could be us on the other side of it.”

With acclaimed former umpire Simon Taufel questioning the merit of awarding six for the over-throw and stressing that perhaps five was ideal, the last word is yet to be heard on this controversy.