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'I couldn't believe it': Ben Stokes answers World Cup final conspiracy

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 Nov 2019, 7:32PM
(Photo / Photosport)
(Photo / Photosport)

'I couldn't believe it': Ben Stokes answers World Cup final conspiracy

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 Nov 2019, 7:32PM

Kiwi-born English cricketer Ben Stokes has opened up on the dramatic Cricket World Cup final moment that broke the hearts of New Zealand players and fans.

In his new autobiography On Fire: My Story of England's Summer to Remember, Stokes also quashed a conspiracy theory around the moment that set England on course to winning the trophy in bizarre fashion.

Stokes, who was born in Christchurch but moved to the UK when he was 12, scored a brilliant 92 runs in the final at Lord's in July - the most crucial of them all when he was awarded four runs when a throw from Black Caps fielder Martin Guptill struck his bat and headed to the boundary during the final over.

The umpires awarded four overthrows and the two runs Stokes was in the process of completing - leaving England needing just three runs off the final two balls.

The game ended in a tie after 50 overs - and was also tied after the Super Over, with England winning on a boundary countback, a rule that has since been scrapped by the International Cricket Council.

"In the World Cup final run chase there was a moment of fortune that I would rather not have happened," Stokes writes in an extract from the book published by the Daily Star.

"I received a full toss on the hip from and scuffed it into a gap. It meant Martin Guptill had work to do to get to the ball, and we had the chance to hare for two. I just put my head down and ran, in and out of the crease at the Nursery End as quickly as I could. Not once did I turn to look at him after I had set off, knowing that this was going to be tight.

"As I sprinted to make the second run, I kept my eyes firmly fixed on Tom Latham, the New Zealand wicketkeeper. I knew it was a good throw and that I would have to get a dive in.

"I couldn't believe it when I felt the ball strike my out-stretched bat on the full. As I looked up, I could see the MCC members in front of the pavilion on their feet, yellow and red ties bouncing up and down, willing it to go for four extra runs.

"Part of me was willing it on too, but one thought went through my mind as I rose to my knees.

"You're kidding me."

Rumours quickly spread that Stokes had pleaded with the umpires to not award the four runs deflected from his bat.

That wasn't the case, however, the controversial allrounder reveals.

"As fortunate as it was that it had happened to our advantage, it was definitely not something I'd want to happen in such circumstances. It was such a freakish occurrence.

"One of the stories that emerged in the aftermath of the game was that I asked umpire Kumar Dharmasena to overlook the fortuitous four from the deflection and just count the two runs for the stroke.

"Nice story that, but it's simply not true."

Ben Stokes says he never asked umpire Kumar Dharmasena to reverse the deflected four runs in the Cricket World Cup final against the Black Caps in July. Photos / Getty Images

Stokes did reveal that he had apologised to Latham and Black Caps captain Kane Williamson straight after the incident.

"Remaining on my knees, I held my hands up and apologised to Tom Latham and Kane Williamson. Typical of the blokes they are, there was not one grumble from them."

Stokes has not been far from the headlines over the past 12 months.

Last month, he sparked claims of domestic violence after a picture taken at an awards evening seemed to show him choking his wife, Clare.

The image shows Stokes' left hand grasped around his wife's neck with his fingers over her jaw and cheek.

Ben and Clare Stokes denied he grabbed her but said the pictures were twisted into a 'crazy story'. Photo / BackGrid

The couple publicly rejected any suggestion of domestic violence taking to Twitter to write: "Unbelievable what nonsense these people will make up!"

Earlier this year, Stokes was also found not guilty of affray following a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub in 2017.

 

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