It was the greatest victory in the history of England's one-day team - but Eoin Morgan's side should have fallen one run short in their dramatic World Cup run-chase against New Zealand.

One of the key moments in England's innings came off the third-to-last ball from Trent Boult, when Ben Stokes accidentally deflected a throw from Martin Guptill to the boundary as he desperately tried to complete a second run.

It meant England were awarded six runs in total - two for the runs completed by Stokes and his partner Adil Rashid, and four for the overthrow. It reduced England's target to three runs off two balls, with the hosts going on to tie the match and ultimately win on a super over.

But it has now emerged that England should only have been awarded five runs off that dramatic delivery from Boult.


MCC Rule 19:8 states that, in the event of an overthrow, the runs scored are 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."

England's batsmen set off for their second run as Martin Guptill throws in from the boundary in the dramatic World Cup final victory. Photo / Sky
England's batsmen set off for their second run as Martin Guptill throws in from the boundary in the dramatic World Cup final victory. Photo / Sky

As the picture above shows, however, Stokes and Rashid had not crossed when Guptill threw in from the boundary edge, meaning England were erroneously given one extra run by umpires Marais Erasmus and Kumar Dharmasena.

To add to New Zealand's sense of injustice, had this been spotted at the time, Rashid would have been on strike for the penultimate delivery rather than Stokes, further diminishing the chances of England completing a famous victory.

Former leading umpire Simon Taufel agrees England should have been awarded five runs and not six off the third-last ball of their innings in the Cricket World Cup final.

Taufel didn't go as far as to suggest the umpiring error cost New Zealand the cup but says the umpires got it wrong.

Taufel, who was named ICC umpire of the year every year between 2004 and 2008, has defended officiating umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus but says they got it wrong.

"There was a judgment error on the overthrow," he told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

"The judgment error was the timing of when the fielder threw the ball. The act of the overthrow starts when the fielder releases the ball. That's the act.


"It becomes an overthrow from the instant of the throw."

Taufel, who stood in the 2011 World Cup final, knows just how many things the umpires had to consider with every ball.

"In this particular case, the umpires have got a lot on their plate, because like every ball, they've had to watch the batsmen complete the first run, they've had to watch the ball being fielded, to understand how it's in play, whether the fielder's done the right thing," he explained.

"Then they've got to look to see when the ball is released, in case there is an overthrow. And that happens every delivery of the game. And then they've got to go back to see where the two batsmen are.

"They've then got to follow on and see what happens after that, whether there is a run-out, whether there's an 'obstructing the field', whether the ball is taken fairly. There's multitudes of decisions to be taken off the one delivery. What's unfortunate is that people think that umpiring is just about outs and not outs. They forget we make thousands of decisions every match.

He said "it's unfortunate that there was a judgment error on the timing of the release of the ball and where the batsmen were".

"They did not cross on their second run, at the instant of the throw. So given that scenario, five runs should have been the correct allocation of runs, and Ben Stokes should have been at the non-striker's end for the next delivery," he added.

Taufel says it's unfair to say the cup was decided by that one event. "There's a lot of 'what ifs' and 'what should bes' and 'what could bes' that happen off those 600-plus deliveries. That's the nature of sport."

According to Law 19.8, pertaining to an "overthrow or wilful act of fielder", Stokes should only have been credited for five runs.