It was another World Cup final for Kumar Dharmasena but this time, he hadn’t seen the best of days. The former Sri Lanka spinner, who is a top umpire in world cricket now, was slammed for awarding six runs to England after a throw from New Zealand’s Martin Guptill went for four overthrow runs after hitting the bat of a diving Ben Stokes at Lord’s on July 14. Former umpire Simon Taufel had later said that Dharmasena should have given five and not six runs to the chasing side. The extra run helped England tie the game and they went on to lift the trophy.
Dharmasena, 48, is nicknamed ‘unanduwa’ which roughly means ‘hard worker’ and he has shown his worth in the official’s role in the past. He was also in charge of the final of the World Cup in 2015 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground which also featured New Zealand as the losing side. The Black Caps might find it hard to swallow to fact that Dharmasena’s presence in their finals didn’t see the end results going their way.
England had needed 15 runs to win off the last over and after Stokes hit a six in the third ball, it was nine required off three. It was then when that overthrow drama took place and Stokes had come up with an apologising gesture after the ball went for four overthrows. Taufel had said that the second run shouldn’t have been added to England’s total since the batsmen (Stokes and Adil Rashid) hadn’t crossed when the fielder had released the throw.
‘I admit I was wrong’
Dharmasena later regretted giving the verdict. Speaking to Sunday Island, Sri Lanka, he said: “I made a judgmental call after consulting my colleague Marais Erasmus. It was like calling a no-ball or a wide and I couldn’t consult the third umpire. I was 100 per cent sure that the batsmen had crossed. It looked as if he had almost reached the popping crease.”
“I admit that I was wrong. I also admit that the rule has to change.”
Dharmasena also had his own take on the rule. “If the ball hits the stumps and goes for four, then it’s fine. But the moment the ball hits the bat or the batsmen, it’s got to be a dead ball.”
Meanwhile, a section of the British media had claimed that Stokes even went to the extent of asking the umpires to withdraw the four overthrow runs. Dharmasena rejected this version outright. He even had apologised to New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson the moment he realised that he had made a blunder.
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