Cricket: Retiring umpire Marais Erasmus admits 'massive error' may have cost Blackcaps 2019 World Cup victory

Blackcaps players commiserate after the 2019 final defeat.
Blackcaps players commiserate after the 2019 final defeat. Photo credit: Getty Images

Retiring veteran umpire Marais Erasmus has confessed to a couple of critical errors that may have cost the Blackcaps World Cup victory in the infamous final against England at Lord's in 2019.

New Zealand lost the match, which is widely regarded as one of the best in the sport's history, in the Super Over after a series of bizarre incidents, most notably a deflection off Ben Stokes' bat that went for four overthrows.

Needing nine runs off three balls in the 50th and final over, Stokes dived to complete a second run and a shy at the stumps by New Zealand's Martin Guptill hit his bat and ran to the boundary.

Erasmus and fellow umpire Kumar Dharmasena consulted and awarded England a six, which should have only been five because the batsmen hadn't crossed for the second run.  

That run may have been the difference between triumph and defeat, with the match ending in a tie and England claiming the World Cup via boundary comeback, a rule which has since been abolished.

Marais Erasmus.
Marais Erasmus. Photo credit: Getty Images

"The next morning I opened my hotel room door on my way to breakfast and Kumar opened his door at the same time and he said, 'did you see we made a massive error?'" Erasmus told the UK's Daily Telegraph.

"That's when I got to know about it. But in the moment on the field, we just said six, you know, communicated to each other, 'six, six, it's six' not realising that they haven't crossed, it wasn't picked up. That's it."

Stokes later described the incident as a "fluke", admitting he felt sorry for the Blackcaps for the brutal manner in which they lost.

Erasmus - who oversaw his final match in the second test between the Blackcaps and Australia in Christchurch – also says he regrets giving New Zealand' Ross Taylor out LBW earlier in the match.

Taylor was dismissed for 15 off 31 balls, although replays showed Mark Wood's delivery would have sailed over the top of off stump. The Blackcaps couldn't challenge the decision, having already used their review.

"It was just too high but they had burnt their review," said Erasmus.  

"That was my only error in the whole seven weeks and afterwards I was so disappointed because it would have been an absolute flip had I got through the whole World Cup not making an error and that obviously impacted the game a bit because he was one of their top players."

Taylor had been one of the form batters for the Blackcaps at the tournament, coming off a critical half century during the semi-final win over India.

The South African finishes his career as one of the longest serving umpires on the ICC Elite Panel, officiating at four World Cups, seven T20 World Cups, and three Women's T20 World Cups.