Cricket World Cup final umpire Kumar Dharmasena has admitted to making a "judgmental error" in giving England six overthrows in the final over of their controversial and thrilling finish against the Black Caps.
Under Law 19.8, pertaining to an "overthrow or wilful act of fielder", England's Ben Stokes should only have been credited for five runs when Martin Guptill's throw deflected off his bat and to the boundary on the third-to-last ball of their innings against New Zealand at Lord's.
Stokes was attempting to complete a second run when Guptill's attempted runout took a remarkably cruel deflection, rolling away for another four runs to hugely increase England's chances of winning.
Umpires Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus deliberated on the issue, ruling that Stokes would receive six runs, which left England requiring just three runs from two balls.
Now, Dharmasena has admitted the blunder but has defended his decision.
"It's easy for people to comment after seeing TV replays," Dharmasena told the Sunday Times.
"I agree that there was a judgmental error when I see it on TV replays now. But we did not have the luxury of TV replays at the ground and I will never regret the decision I made. Beside the ICC praised me for the decision I made at that time."
Former top umpire Simon Taufel was the first to point out that an error had been made, noting that Stokes shouldn't have been attributed with having completed the second run.
Ben Stokes dives to make his ground as the fielded ball hits his bat and runs away for four runs. Photo / Getty Images
"There was a judgment error on the overthrow," Taufel told Australian media.
"The act of the overthrow starts when the fielder releases the ball. It becomes an overthrow from the instant of the throw.
"They did not cross on their second run, at the instant of the throw. So given that scenario, five runs should have been the correct allocation of runs, and Ben Stokes should have been at the non-striker's end for the next delivery."
TV replays showed that Stokes and non-striker Adil Rashid hadn't crossed for the second run when Guptill's throw was released, and Dharmasena said there were too many events happening for he and Erasmus to monitor everything.
"One must understand that there were too many things on our plate," Dharmasena said.
"We had to watch the batsmen complete the first run, the ball being fielded, how it was handled by the fielder and whether the batsmen completed the second 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 second run because the ball ricocheted off Stokes' bat at the time of him completing the second run. So, we assumed that they had crossed each other at the time of fielder releasing the ball."
The decision increased England's chances of victory, as Rashid would have been on strike needing four from two balls, but the Black Caps were unaware that a mistake had been made when quizzed on the issue the day after the final.
"I actually wasn't aware of the finer rule at that point in time, obviously you trust in the umpires and what they do. I guess you throw that in the mix of a few hundred other things that may have been different," said captain Kane Williamson.
When informed of the finer details of the ruling, neither Black Caps coach Gary Stead or batting coach Craig McMillan were aware that England were erroneously given an extra run.
"The umpires are there to rule and they're human as well, like players, sometimes errors are made," rationalised Stead. "That's just the human nature of sport, and why we care so much about it as well."
"I didn't know that rule, to be perfectly honest," added McMillan.
"I've played a lot of games of cricket, watched a lot of cricket and overthrows have always been added to what's been run, as opposed to the point of the throw coming in."