Technical knockout: Kiwis question ‘cruel’ rules

Heartbroken New Zealanders expressed pride Monday in the Black Caps’ fighting spirit after defeat to England in the Cricket World Cup final, but also bemusement at the obscure rules that cost them the match.

The Black Caps lost even though scores were tied at the end of both regular play and a Super Over shootout, with England’s superior boundary count giving them victory.

As Kiwi fans absorbed a second straight loss in the tournament decider, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was concentrating on the positives. “That was undeniably an incredible game. I think as a nation we all aged a year in that Super Over,” she posted on social media. “Congratulations to England. And to the Black Caps, I feel nothing but pride. What a team.” But her sports minister Grant Robertson questioned the tie-break method. “What an extraordinary game. Not sure Super Over is the right end,” he tweeted.

“Whatever, NZ you can be so, so proud of this team.” Former Black Cap Scott Styris labelled governing body the ICC a joke over the rules but congratulated both teams on a stunning efforts. Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming’s one-word reaction to the result was cruel, while even the father of England’s Kiwi-born match-winner Ben Stokes felt the Kiwis were hard done by.

Gerard Stokes, a former New Zealand rugby league international who took his son to England as a boy while he pursued his career, said honours were even. ‘It’s a shame there has to be a loser,’ he told the New Zealand Herald.