Dear ICC, You're WARNED!
Despite introducing new amendments post World Cup, the ICC still needs to ponder upon its existing regulations to avoid another bummer
New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult stunned everyone by admitting that he had no clue there was going to be a Super Over to decide the winner if the final against England had ended up in a tie. It was only when the equation came down to three runs off two balls, did the on-field umpires informed Boult that there will be a Super Over if scores are level. "I didn't actually know there was going to be a super over in a World Cup final, so there you go," said Boult. His statement's only assert the obscurity of the existing set of rules.
Discussions and debates followed. In the last week, ICC did amend a few rules which includes a like-for-like concussion substitute in men's and women's international cricket and first-class cricket worldwide from August 1, the start of the first Ashes Test. The ICC also stated that captains will no longer be suspended for over-rate breaches and the whole team will now be fined at the same level, effectively doubling their sanction. In WTC (World Test Championship) matches, a team that is behind the required over-rate at the end of a match will have two competition points deducted for each over it is behind. This will particularly prove to be costly for a losing side as they would go into deficit for the game. Despite these amendments, the ICC still needs to ponder upon various existing rules to avoid such bizarre outcomes in the future.
No one could have scripted this World Cup 2019 finish better. While we will talk about this thrilling World Cup 2019 final living up to its reputation for years to come, the fact that no team lost the final and still one team won the World Cup have left many cricket fans fuming about the ICC rules.
Tied Super Over
As per current ICC rules, in case of a tied Super Over the team that scores more number of boundaries wins the match. This is like a team winning football World Cup on the basis of ball possession after a penalty shoot-out ending in a tie or declaring a F1 racer for leading most of the race despite losing on the final lap. After the match, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson admitted that the rule was "tough to swallow" to eventually decide the World Cup winners. Sachin Tendulkar suggested that there could have been another Super Over or a rematch on a reserve day to decide the ultimate winner given the context of the tournament. Many pundits of the cricketing fraternity also believe that there could have been joint-winners as none lost and handing the trophy to England was too harsh on the Kiwis.
While the runs scored off overthrows have been an integral part of many tense matches in history, the overthrows off the bat of Ben Stokes that went for boundary resulting in 6 runs would be talked for generations to come. Though Stokes immediately apologized for the inadvertent error, the umpires, bounded by MCC laws, couldn't do anything but to reward runs to the batting side. The jury is still out if the umpires should have rewarded 5 runs or 6 for that fateful overthrow, it is time for the ICC to do away with this controversial law. Scores were tied at the end of regular play and the resulting Super Over shootout, with England then handed their first-ever World Cup victory for their superior boundary count.
Former ICC Elite Panel umpire, Simon Taufel, told Fox Sports Australia that umpires had made a "clear mistake", as the batsmen had not crossed for their second run. "They should have been awarded five runs, not six," he said, adding that England's Adil Rashid should have faced the second-last ball instead of Stokes as a result.
DRS dead ball rule
This scenario has never played out in any match till now but the cricket fans have been talking about this potential match-breaking situation for some time now. For instance, with scores tied in Super Over, a batsman needs just one run to win the match off the last ball. The ball hits the batsman's pad, gets deflected to vacant fine-leg region and batsman run for a leg-bye. The bowling team goes up for an appeal and the umpire gives the batsman out LBW which is then contested by batsman for review. If the DRS rule the decision in favour of the batsman, will the batsman get that leg-bye run?
The DRS rule states that the ball is deemed dead as soon as the umpire gives his decision. So, a wrong DRS decision will deny a perfectly legal leg-bye. In this scenario, the team that would have won the contest, would end up as the losing team technically. It is time for ICC to rethink this law as this can play out as potential bummer.
(With inputs from Chayan Rastogi)