Members of England squad, the World Cup champions, strike a pose for the album on Monday. Image Credit: Reuters

London: It’s usually runs or wickets that decide a winner in a one-day match, but that wasn’t the case in this World Cup final. England ended a 44-year wait to lay their hands on the cricket World Cup as the team that scored ‘more boundaries.’

The cricket fraternity has erupted with criticism of the boundary countback rule, though fact remains that all teams had accepted the rules before the start of the tournament — hardly imagining such a scenario would actually play out.

“Congratulations to England! Commiserations New Zealand. I’ve got to say that it’s a horrible way to decide the winner. This rule has to change,” said former Australian pacer Brett Lee.

“Don’t understand how the game of such proportions, the CWC19Final, is finally decided on who scored the most boundaries. A ridiculous rule ICC. Should have been a tie. I want to congratulate both New Zealand and England on playing out a nail biting Final. Both winners imo (in my opinion),” tweeted former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir.

Having reported matches where the winners are decided by runs or wickets, to file a report stating that England won by more boundaries 26-17, (26 for hosts, 17 for New Zealand) it felt like a rugby scoreline.

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Many find the rule absolutely absurd. Whoever suggested such a rule would have imagined such a scenario, but surely never expected it to actually happen. A winner decided on more boundaries would have been understandable if it was a Twenty20 contest, but to decide a winner based on boundaries in a 50-over match sounds very strange.

In a match where every run makes a difference, umpire Kumar Dharmasena seemed to have erred by granting six runs for the overthrow in the crucial final over. Ben Stokes had hit the ball to the deep and scampered back for a second run. Martin Guptill’s throw had ricocheted off Stokes’ bat as the batsman dived home and went on for four overthrows.

England were awarded six runs, but as per Law 19.8, pertaining to an “overthrow or wilful act of fielder”, Stokes should only have been credited five runs. The law clearly 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”. Replays showed that Stokes and non-striker Adil Rashid hadn’t crossed at the time of the throw.

Top former umpire Simon Taufel has remarked on the media that Dharmasena did go wrong by adding two runs to the boundary instead of one. Ironically, England fans were upset over Dharmasena being appointed to officiate the final after England opener Jason Roy was declared out to a wide ball in the semi-final.

Earlier, Dharmasena had declared New Zealand’s Henry Nicholls leg before when the ball was going over the stumps, but a review saved the batsman. He had also declared New Zealand Kane Williamson not out for caught behind, but England sought a review won it, proving that when it came to committing mistakes, he was ‘neutral.’

The result of all this is that England can never claim they won the World Cup by as many runs or wickets. As for New Zealand, they can say they never lost the match as they scored the required runs needed in the match. In short, England won the World Cup but not the final!

Super Over (As it happened)

England beat New Zealand in the World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday. The match was tied after both teams scored 241 runs. Following is how the Super Over unfolded.

England batsmen: Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler New Zealand Bowler: Trent Boult 0.1 — 3 runs, Stokes hits over backward point 0.2 — 1 run, Buttler hits to deep square leg 0.3 — 4 runs, Stokes sweeps through midwicket 0.4 — 1 run, Stokes hits to backward point 0.5 — 2 runs, Buttler slices to deep cover 0.6 — 4 runs, Buttler hits over midwicket TOTAL: 15 runs

New Zealand batsmen: Martin Guptill and Jimmy Neesham England Bowler: Jofra Archer 0 — 1 run, Wide 0.1 — 2 runs, Neesham hits to long-off 0.2 — 6 runs, Neesham clears deep midwicket boundary 0.3 — 2 runs, Neesham drills to deep midwicket 0.4 — 2 runs, Neesham clips to deep midwicket 0.5 — 1 run, Neesham under-edges ball into his pad 0.6 — 1 run, Guptill flicks to deep midwicket, fails to complete second run and is run out.

Total: 15 runs.

England won the match by virtue of hitting more boundaries in the match and the Super Over, 26 to New Zealand’s 17.

— With inputs from agencies