New Zealand win MCC’s Spirit of Cricket award for sporting conduct during World Cup final

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Published: December 4, 2019 5:18:53 PM

Kane Williamson and his team were robbed of the World Cup title after a controversial overthrow that ensured the winner remains undecided until the Super Over and eventually England claiming its maiden crown on boundary count.

The Black Caps suffered a heartbreak in the marquee event but showed nothing but class. (File)

New Zealand have been awarded the Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket award for their exemplary show of sportsmanship both on and off the field during the epic final of the ICC World Cup 2019 at Lord’s in July.

Kane Williamson and his team were robbed of the World Cup title after a controversial overthrow that ensured the winner remains undecided until the Super Over and eventually England claiming its maiden crown on boundary count.

“Kane Williamson and his team were universally lauded for their grace and humility after being denied the 50-over trophy despite tying scores in both the regulation 100 overs and the Super Over, as England trumped them on a boundary count,” the ICC said in a statement.

The Black Caps suffered a heartbreak in the marquee event but showed nothing but class. Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) President Kumar Sangakkara commended New Zealand, and said, “The New Zealand team are worthy winners of this award. In the heat of battle, they displayed a level of sportsmanship that was fitting for such a fantastic final, and indeed tournament.”

New Zealand team was presented the award during the drawn second Test between against England at Hamilton’s Seddon Park.

“It is a testament to their squad that even after a match that will live long in the memory for the cricket that was played, we are still talking about the Spirit of Cricket. Their actions deserve this recognition,” the former Sri Lankan captain said.

Set to chase 242 to win, England needed nine runs from the three balls in the final over when a throw by Martin Guptill deflected off diving Ben Stokes’ bat for a boundary. The hosts were awarded six runs by the umpires, who also took into consideration two runs taken by the batsmen.

The umpires’ controversial decision kept England in the hunt as they also tied the ensuing Super Over and lifted the trophy on the basis of boundary count.

Amid massive backlash, the MCC, which is the custodian of the game’s laws, decided to review the rules related to the overthrow. Former ICC Elite Panel umpire Simon Taufel felt the umpires should have given five runs instead of six.

The award is the brainchild of the MCC and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and is presented to honour when the right spirit of the game is respected. Created in 2013 in memory of Martin-Jenkins, the former MCC president and BBC Test Match Special commentator, the award honours his longstanding passion and desire to see the game played in the right spirit.

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