News and views from the heart of England - Issue 3    © David Smith 2018

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Guide to Cricket – part 1

Cricket is a summer game played between two teams, or sides, of 11 players. It is normally played outdoors in daylight, on grass surfaces. A game of cricket is often referred to as a match. A cricket match consists of a minimum of two innings. In each innings one side bats, while the other side fields. The batting side attempts to score as many runs as possible while restricting the number of wickets that are taken, while the fielding side attempts to take as many wickets as they can while restricting the runs scored by the batting side.

A coin is tossed to determine which captain has the choice of batting or fielding first. For the duration of their innings, the batting side must always have two batsmen in play, or ‘in’ at the same time, so an innings is completed when 10 batsman are out. The batting side are then ‘all out’. An innings can also be completed if the batting side’s captain decides the team has enough runs, and declares the team’s innings closed.

At the end of the innings, a new one is started. The former batting side now becomes the fielding side, and the former fielding side becomes the batting side. The side batting second attempts to pass the run score of the side batting first to win the game.

Because each side takes its turn at batting and fielding, there is no point in cricket where one side or the other can be said to be winning or losing, although one side might be doing better than the other. The actual result is only achieved at the final point in the game. The winner of a cricket match is the side that scores most runs. If the side batting second scores more runs than the side batting first, then they win the game. If the side fielding second takes all 10 wickets before the side batting second passes their run total, then they win the game.

The duration of a game of cricket varies. Some formats are played within an overall time limit, with no restrictions placed on the length of each side’s innings. Other formats allow each side an innings of a fixed length, by determining the maximum number of overs that each side can bowl. In each case, the result of the game is determined at the end of the time period, or when all innings have been completed, unless a result has already been obtained by one side or the other.

Cricket matches are not always won or lost. In cricket, a draw occurs when neither side can force victory. If the side batting second are unable to pass the score of the side batting first without losing all 10 wickets, the match is a draw. A tie occurs if the two sides have the same number of runs at the end of the game, but this is quite rare.

Umpires officiate at each match, making sure the spirit and laws of the game are adhered to. They also adjudicate decisions as and when they are required.


Look for the next informative instalment in the next issue of Plugborough Press.