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Monday, July 15, 2019

Black Caps did not lose ~ but robbed of World Cup by rules 2019

The match went past midnight – there was the temptation of the grand final set between Novak Djokovic playing Roger Federer – but the fascinating game provided so many twists and turns – enjoyable as India was not playing and we had nothing to lose !!  -  The great game of Cricket is all about ‘runs and wickets !’ .. .. fundamental Q – ever read the definition of a ‘run in Cricket’ ? According to ICC rules – the  score shall be reckoned by runs. A run is scored
18.1.1 so often as the batsmen, at any time while the ball is in play, have crossed and made good their ground from end to end.
18.1.2 when a boundary is scored.).
18.1.3 when Penalty runs are awarded.

I have been watching the game and have seen many different strokes – the straight drive, square cut, pull, hook, cover drive, sweep, reverse sweep, switch-hit, chinest-cut and more .. .. but have not seen a run scoredt by a batsman sliding face down along the pitch, but that's what Ben Stokes did to deny the Black Caps glory at Lord's. 

The entertaining Cricket World Cup 2019 ended with ‘a virtual no result’ – yes – ‘a tie’ – a super over ending in another tie but England winning the tournament after 48 games, for the first time and, and New Zealand not losing the match !   "Ridiculous", "absurd", "random", "arbitrary", "unsatisfactory", "galling", "unfortunate", "a shame" ~ is what Kiwis are screaming about.  Seemingly fair, as   Black Caps fate  on a World Cup final being decided by a countback of boundaries hit.   Till that moment Cricket was exciting, beautiful, so wonderful and yes, so savagely cruel. New Zealand did not lose this Cricket World Cup. They were not beaten on the day.  Luck is perhaps the most underrated factor in the whole of sport. As humans we like to think that we are in charge of our own destiny.  The fates are laughing behind their hands at that one.

            England are world champions after tying with New Zealand on 241 each after their respective 50 overs. They both scored 15 in the super-over shootout – but England won thanks to hitting more boundaries in their 50 overs.          It is England’s first ever Cricket World Cup and follows final defeats in 1979, 1987 and 1992.  As the dust settles and the analysis pours in on the "greatest ODI match of all time", Kiwi cricket fans have been left wondering just how robbed they were of their first World Cup title.

Black Caps were denied the Cup by their own slow start, poor Umpiring, vague rules – and more - lost in the thrilling late-match madness is another  question; were England awarded one run too many during the chaotic scenes of Trent Boult's final over to Ben Stokes?  It was a contest that could not be separated by runs scored, in regulation play nor during the Super Over, but were England inadvertently awarded one run too many during the chaotic scenes of Trent Boult's final over to Ben Stokes? First of all, was it correct to award runs when the throw from deep hit the bat of a diving Stokes (though inadvertently !) and if the rules are undeniably so, should it have been a Six ! – was that not 1 + 4 = 5 for the run had not been completed.

There is so much more to ponder over for Kiwis - using their one batting review poorly in the Cricket World Cup final against England at Lord's on Sunday, cost the Black Caps super bat Ross Taylor. Reviews played an important part early in the game to decide the new world champions, but a Black Caps got one right, then one badly wrong. Early in the New Zealand innings, Henry Nicholls was saved by a review after being given out lbw to Chris Woakes. In the seventh over Martin Guptill - who earlier had a caught behind appeal overturned when review showed he hadn't hit it - was struck on the pads by Woakes, and again an umpire's finger was raised. Guptill chatted with Nicholls and with two seconds left on the clock called for a review.

Getting back to that run off overthrow (!) – that was coming like an arrow directed at the stumps – Stokes intervened and inadvertently sent that  throw from deep midwicket skimming to the third man boundary, after diving for his crease in a bid to complete his second run. After consultation with his colleagues, umpire Kumar Dharmasena signalled six runs for the incident, meaning that England - seemingly drifting out of contention needing nine runs from three balls, now only needed three more from two.

The law states: "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." 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.

Whatever, New Zealand would forever rue the loss or rather awarding of the Cup when they did nothing wrong.  As NZ Press writes – the  centimetres between Trent Boult's heel and the boundary rope, as his catch turned into a six. The centimetres of Ben Stokes' diving bat that cruelly deflected four final-over overthrows. And ultimately, the centimetres between Martin Guptill's bat and the crease, as he dove in desperation for the winning run. Jos Buttler whipped off the bails, sending England into ecstasy. They had just won a Super Over – yes, a truly absurd Super Over – by the narrowest of margins.

So when Buttler smashed the stumps, England went berzerk, the Lord's crowd erupted, and Guptill sat slumped in despair. And it broke New Zealand's hearts. They didn't deserve to lose. Not like this. Especially not with how the final moments unfolded. Having set England 242 to win after a solid batting performance led by Henry Nicholls (55), Tom Latham (47), and Kane Williamson (30), the Black Caps looked poised for glory, with the hosts needing 22 runs from the last nine balls. Then, utterly incredible scenes - never before witnessed in cricket history – unfolded.

First, Boult looked to have taken the game-defining catch, snagging Stokes on the mid-wicket boundary. But as he stood back to complete the catch, he stood on the boundary rope – turning a match-winning moment into a potentially game-changing six. The Black Caps fought back though, making the equation tough once more - 15 needed off four, before Stokes sent Boult over mid-wicket. This one wasn't catchable. Nine from three. A full toss came in, and Stokes smeared it to mid-wicket. Guptill was on it quickly, and went to attempt a runout at the striker's end. Diving for his ground, Stokes inadvertently managed to deflect the throw for four overthrows. Six runs. Instead of a runout, or merely two runs, England were left needing just three from two balls. Somehow, the drama was nowhere near finished. Stokes could only manage a single from the penultimate ball - Adil Rashid run out trying for a second run - and needing two for victory, the final ball of the innings was a repeat – with Neesham's throw from the running out Mark Wood's attempt for a second run, and sending the game to a Super Over.

Stokes and Buttler – who had earlier rescued England from 86-4 with a 110-run partnership that gave the hosts the chance to win the Cup – came out for the Super Over, and hit Boult for 15. Needing 16 for victory – and aware of the tiebreaker - the Black Caps sent out Neesham and Guptill. England's bowler – Jofra Archer – started with a wide, before the Black Caps scampered a quick two. Neesham then produced a massive six over mid-wicket, putting the Black Caps in the box seat. Seven off four became five off three, then three off two, as the Black Caps scampered three consecutive twos. The tension is unbearable. The nerves unimaginable. The scenes unthinkable. The penultimate ball comes off Neesham's inside edge, and they run a single, putting Guptill on strike, with a chance to be a hero, and claim the ultimate redemption.  Guptill clipped the ball to midwicket ran one turn for the 2nd dived and .. ..   New Zealand's 44 years of waiting just got extended by a few more centimeters to some more years.

Here is the rule for super Over :-
·         The team batting second in the match will bat first in the Super Over.
·         The fielding captain or his nominee shall select the ball with which he wishes to bowl his over in the Super Over from the box of spare balls provided by the umpires. Such box to include the balls used in the main match, but no new balls. The team fielding first in the Super Over shall have first choice of ball. The team fielding second may choose to use the same ball as chosen by the team bowling first. If the ball needs to be changed, then playing conditions as stated for the main match shall apply.
·         The loss of two wickets in the over ends the team’s one over innings.
·         In the  event of the teams having the same score after the Super Over has been completed, if the original match was a tie under the DLS method, clause 15 immediately applies. Otherwise, the team whose batsmen hit the most number of boundaries combined from its two innings in both the main match and the Super Over shall be the winner. ~ and there is more
·         If the number of boundaries hit by both teams is equal, the team whose batsmen scored more boundaries during its innings in the main match (ignoring the Super Over) shall be the winner.
·         If still equal, a count-back from the final ball of the Super Over shall be conducted. The team with the higher scoring delivery shall be the winner. If a team loses two wickets during its over, then any unbowled deliveries will be counted as dot balls. Note that for this purpose, the runs scored from a delivery is defined as the total team runs scored since the completion of the previous legitimate ball, i.e including any runs resulting from wides, no ball or penalty runs.

Some of the rules may have to be redefined but the moment of truth is England won the World Cup 2019 and NZ are the runner-up.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th July 2019.

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