Kumar Dharmasena's decision to award England 6 runs for overthrows instead of 5 in the last over of the ICC World Cup final is a part of cricketing folklore now, but the debate around his decision continues. Dharmasena has now spoken about it, admitting the "judgemental error" but has argued that the decision was made in consultation with the square leg umpire Marais Erasmus, with the ICC even praising him for the decision he made at the time.
"I agree that there was a judgmental error when I see it on TV replays now," Dharmasena told Sunday Times. "But we did not have the luxury of TV replays at the ground and I will never regret the decision I made. Besides, the ICC praised me for the decision I made at that time."
Due to Dharmasena's decision, the equation for England came down to 3 needed off two balls with Ben Stokes on strike. England were awarded 2 runs for running between the wickets and 4 extra runs for the ball that deflected off Stokes's bat and went to the boundary. The only problem was that Stokes and Adil Rashid hadn't crossed at the "instant of the throw or act", meaning they profited with an extra run.
Couldn't Dharmasena have used technology to consult with the third umpire then? "There is no provision in the law to refer this to the third umpire as no dismissal was involved," Dharmasena said. "So, I did consult the leg umpire through the communication system which is heard by all other umpires and the match referee. And, while they cannot check TV replays, they all confirmed that the batsmen have completed the run. This is when I made my decision.
"One must understand that there were too many things on our plate. We had to watch the batsmen complete the 1st run, the ball being fielded, how it was handled by the fielder and whether the batsmen completed the 2nd run. And where the throw would come from, the striker's end or non-striker's end. In this case, we were all happy that the batsmen had completed the 2nd run because the ball ricocheted off Stokes's bat at the time of him completing the 2nd run.
"So, we assumed that they had crossed each other at the time of fielder releasing the ball. These are things that happen in a cricket field. For instance, an umpire can call a wide or a no-ball wrongly and just because the TV replays shows otherwise, we cannot go back and reverse the match. This is one such incident."