Sri Lanka – Australia final; Crowe says Rudi Koertzen was talking about allowances

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, April 29, 2007 (AFP) – Match referee Jeff Crowe took the blame for the farcical finish to the World Cup final which saw Australia celebrate victory twice and forced Sri Lanka to bat in pitch-black darkness. But he suggested third umpire Rudi Koertzen may have initiated a process which led to chaotic scenes at the climax of cricket’s showpiece game.

Crowe, despite heading up a team of officials which included umpire Steve Bucknor, standing in a record fifth World Cup final, managed to overlook a basic playing condition which states that once 20 overs have been bowled in both innings enough cricket has been played to create a match and have a result declared under the Duckworth/Lewis system for rain-affected games.

Instead the teams, following instructions from Bucknor and Pakistan’s Aleem Dar, the other on-field umpire, came back on to bowl three more overs in gathering gloom.

Both Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Australia counterpart Ricky Ponting rightly thought the game had finished.

With the game gone from Sri Lanka, Jayawardene and Ponting came to an arrangement that the match would finish with Sri Lanka facing slow bowling as a safety precaution after the umpires had incorre