England wicket-keeper Jos Buttler runs out New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill to clinch victory in the World Cup final. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

It’s simply too frivolous that a 50-over World Cup match should be decided by which team hit more boundaries in the game.

It eliminates far too much about what makes a cricket match – and especially one as thrilling as the World Cup final was on Sunday – so special.

If it all has to boil down to which team hit more boundaries, then remove bowlers from the sport and just replace them with machines “delivering” balls to batsmen.

Both sides get 50 overs, and do the boundary calculations thereafter.

Cricket is more nuanced than that.

The determining factor used in the final at Lord’s to decide which team “won”, made it seem that runs, especially fours and sixes, have more value than wickets.

Well, that’s simply not cricket.

Never mind the bowlers, what of the skill involved in knocking a ball into a bat for a single, or a two?

Batting itself is more varied than simply hitting boundaries, and ignoring the prowess of manoeuvring the ball around, thereby manipulating field placings, would make the game less interesting.

Both teams of course knew what methodology would be utilised should the match end in two ties – the match itself after 100 overs and then the ‘Super Over’ – but that is not the point here.

It’s a flawed system that places an emphasis on just one aspect of the sport.

Runs matter, but so do wickets.

Even the use of a ‘Super Over’ to try to decide the outcome on Sunday was wrong.

In T20, a ‘Super Over’ works because it’s a more rapid game, with conditions unlikely to change as drastically as they do over the course of one whole day and 100 overs.

To try to achieve a winner in that manner seems crass.

The International Cricket Council would have been better placed using the tournament itself as the guide for determining the winner.

By that I mean the round-robin phase, which utilised a points table to decide who finished where.

By that guide, England would be World Cup winners in the event of a tie.

They won more matches than New Zealand, claimed more points in the round-robin portion of the tournament, and won the fixture between the two teams in that phase of the competition as well.

It’s a far simpler and less controversial outcome, and pays heed to the competition as a whole, and the physical and mental demands of playing nine league matches over the course of six weeks.

Eliminating all that cricket – and the effort that all the teams put into playing – once sides reach the knockout phase seems too much of a waste.

It would also add an extra layer of importance to each round-robin game, knowing the possible implications of the outcome further down the line.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than boiling the outcome of a 50-over game down to which team hit more sixes and fours.

It pays respect to the playing of the sport as a whole – batting, bowling and fielding – and elevates the importance of all matches throughout the tournament.

@shockerhess


The Star

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