England’s Ben Stokes stole the show with his impressive 84* against New Zealand in the World Cup finals, but a controversial ‘six’ in the last over that continues to be a topic of debate.
In probably the most controversial final of the World Cup, New Zealand seemed to have sealed the match as the first two balls of the last over were dot balls. Stokes brought the match back to life as he hit a six off the third ball. But it was the fourth ball of the final over that swung the game in England’s favour.
Stokes tried to go big again, but did not get the timing right. Martin Guptill ran around from deep midwicket and went for the direct hit. The throw hit Stokes’s bat and rolled to the boundary behind the keeper. Stokes promptly put his hands up to indicate that he had not intentionally hit the ball.
After conferring for a bit, the umpires declared that the four runs from the overthrow and the two runs that had been run would be counted. Effectively a six, and changed the equation to three needed off two balls. England went on tie the game, tie the Super Over and win the World Cup because they had hit more boundaries.
Cricket fans were quick to link the incident to Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the 1986 FIFA World Cup, saying in Stokes case it invovlved a ‘Bat of God’. In Maradona’s case, the legendary Argentina footballer hit the ball with his fist to score the winning goal in the quarterfinal. Maradona himself said after the match that the goal had been scored “a little with his head and a little with the hand of God.”
After the match, Stokes said that he apologised to opposition captain Kane Williamson, saying that was not how he wanted to do it. ““I said to Kane I’ll be apologising for that for the rest of my life. In the last over when the ball hit the bat and went for four it’s not exactly what you ask for. I’ve apologised to Kane countless times about that. It’s not exactly how you want to do it,” he said.