England hero Ben Stokes asked the umpires to take away the four overthrows that proved so decisive but controversial to their Cricket World Cup win over New Zealand.
Stokes had a throw from Black Caps fielder Martin Guptill deflect off his bat and run to the boundary in the dying stages of the crucial run chase.
Having completed two, he was awarded six. Even that was technically wrong as Guptill’s throw happened before the English batsmen crossed, meaning he should only have got five which would have left England a run short of New Zealand’s total of 241-8.
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But if Stokes had his way the match might never have reached a tie and gone to a Super Over where both teams scored 15 runs and England eventually won the World Cup on a countback of boundaries hit.
Jimmy Anderson, Stokes’ test team-mate for the looming Ashes series, revealed that the English all-rounder, who was hugely apologetic the moment the incident happened, had appealed to the umpires to overturn their decision.
“The etiquette in cricket is if the ball is thrown at the stumps and it hits you and goes into a gap in the field you don’t run,” Anderson told the BBC’s Tailenders podcast as the host nation continued to celebrate their World Cup breakthrough.
“But if it goes to the boundary, in the rules it’s four and you can’t do anything about it.
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“I think, talking to Michael Vaughan who saw him after the game, Ben Stokes actually went to the umpires and said, ‘Can you take that four runs off. We don’t want it’.
“But it’s in the rules and that’s the way it is.
“It’s been talked about for a while among the players, potentially that being a dead ball if it does hit the batsman and veer off somewhere.”
Christchurch-born Stokes was quick to apologies to the Black Caps on the field and continued that after the match, suggesting he might have to say sorry “for the rest of my life” for the extra runs which he labelled “fluke”.
The Black Caps took the freak incident on the chin, realizing they were powerless to have it overturned.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and coach Gary Stead also seemed unaware of the finer details of the rule that could have saved his team at least one crucial run.
Australian former test umpire Simon Taufel described the costly ruling in the final as a “clear mistake”.