New Delhi: A total of 359 sixes were scored throughout the 2019 edition of the cricket World Cup in England and Wales. However, the one which will be remembered for ages is the "six" which was awarded to England that turned the tide for the Three Lions as they beat New Zealand in one of the most thrilling 50-over matches one could ever witness in the game of cricket.
The score-line on Sunday after the end of final read: New Zealand 241, England 241.
In Super Over -- England 15, New Zealand 15.
And the Three Lions were crowned champions as they defeated the Black Caps by 0 run -- the smallest of margins one can ever get to see in the game of cricket.
England were handed the trophy on the basis of boundaries scored. In the entire duration of 112 overs, England scored 26 boundaries as compared to 17 by New Zealand.
However, the match went to the Super Over courtesy the six runs awarded to England all-rounder Ben Stokes in the final over of the game.
Chasing New Zealand's first-innings score of 241, England needed another nine runs from three more balls to win the game and become the first men's English team to have their hands at the coveted trophy.
In the fourth ball of the over, Stokes accidentally knocked the ball coming in from deep midwicket field Martin Guptill and deflected it off to the third man boundary, while attempting to dive for his crease with an outstretched bat, in a bid to complete his second run.
After consultation with Marais Erasmus and the rest of his umpiring colleagues, Kumar Dharmasena signalled six runs for the incident, meaning that England -- who by then seemed to be drifting out of contention needing nine runs from three balls -- were suddenly right back in the hunt towards their World Cup glory needing three more from two.
According to MCC law 19.8 pertaining to 'overthrow or wilful act of fielder': "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."
Now, if one looks at this definition of the law, a conclusion can be drawn that England were awarded an extra run, i.e., they should have been awarded five runs instead of six.
If one takes a close look at the video of the incident, it will be seen that at the moment the ball was released by Guptill, Stokes and his partner, Adil Rashid, had not yet crossed for their second run.
Hence, according to the latter part of the rule, it doesn't appear that the second run was completed. Also, in the law there is no mention on the part of batsman's action. But that was not the case and England were awarded six runs which eventually turned vital looking at the context of the game.
Former international umpire Simon Taufel said that a grave error was made in awarding England six runs -- instead of five. "It's a clear mistake...it's an error of judgment," Taufel told foxsports.com.au.
Stokes, on his part, did apologise for the unintended deflection off his bat. "I said to Kane I'll be apologising for that for the rest of my life," the all-rounder said.
However, Williamson was left disappointed as he failed to take his team across the line and said: "It was a shame that the ball hit Stokes' bat, but I just hope it doesn't happen in moments like that."
"Unfortunately that sort of thing happens from time to time. It's a part of the game that we play. I don't wish to nitpick, just hope it never happens in such moments ever again," he added.
However, as former New Zealand cricketer Ian Smith said, "(There were) lots of sixes hit in the tournament, yet the most significant six was one that went along the ground."
No matter how much cricket fraternity debates over the controversial "six", history will remember that incident as the defining moment of the 2019 World Cup final which helped England break a 102-year-old drought and become champions.