ICC defends Dharmasena's overthrow call in World Cup final

The world cricket body said that the umpires followed the right process

umpire_kumar_dharmasena (File) Umpire Kumar Dharmasena signals six runs to be added to England's total after the overthrow in the 2019 ICC World Cup final at Lord's

Almost two weeks after one of the most controversial finals in the cricket World Cup history, the ICC finally clarified that umpire Kumar Dharmasena's decision to award six runs and not five overthrows to England was correct.

Dharmasena had signalled to add six runs to England's total, instead of five, when Martin Guptill's throw from the deep went to the boundary after being deflected of a diving Ben Stokes's bat. The match was stretched to a Super Over which, too, ended in a tie. Eventually hosts England were declared champions on better boundary count, leaving New Zealand players in disbelief.

"They (on-field umpires) had to make a judgement call on the day as to whether the batsmen had crossed when the throw was released," ICC general manager of cricket Geoff Allardice told ESPNcricinfo. "After everything that went on during that delivery, they got together over their comms system and made their decision. They certainly followed the right process when making the decision.

"They (on-field umpires) were aware of the law when they made the judgement about whether the batsmen had crossed or not at the time," he said. "The playing conditions don't allow them to refer to such a decision to a third umpire. The match referee cannot intervene when the umpires on the field have to make a judgement call like that," Allardice said.

Interestingly, Dharmasena had earlier admitted that it was a “judgement error” to award six runs instead of five, but had added that he will never "regret" the decision.

"It's easy for people to comment after seeing TV replays," Dharmasena had told Sunday Times.

"I agree that there was a judgement 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."

The TV replays showed that Adil Rashid and Stokes had not completed the second run when Guptill released the ball from the deep.

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Dharmasena, who was standing as head umpire, consulted leg umpire Marais Erasmus and added six runs to the England total following the incident—four runs for the ball reaching the boundary plus two for running between the wicket.

England needed nine from the final three balls. This changed to three off two balls.

The 48-year-old added that according to the law, there was no provision to consult the third umpire on the incident.

"There is no provision in the law to refer this to the third umpire as no dismissal was involved," he had said.

"So, I did consult the leg umpire through the communication system which is heard by all other umpires and the match referee. And, while they cannot check TV replays, they all confirmed that the batsmen have completed the run. This is when I made my decision."

Former international umpires Simon Taufel and K. Hariharan had said the officials standing in the World Cup final erred by awarding six runs.

Law 19.8 of the ICC rules, pertaining to 'Overthrow or wilful act of fielder', 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."

"One must understand that there were too many things on our plate. We had to watch the batsmen complete the first run, the ball being fielded, how it was handled by the fielder and whether the batsmen completed the second run. And where the throw would come from, the striker's end or non-striker's end."

"In this case, we were all happy that the batsmen had completed the second run because the ball ricocheted off Stokes's bat at the time of him completing the second run. So, we assumed that they had crossed each other at the time of fielder releasing the ball," Dharmasena said.

(With PTI inputs)