3. Match Play

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[Graphic: Bowled]
  • Bowled is a common dismissal
Different bowlers in action in cricket getting a batsman out - bowled
  • Video: Different bowlers in action in cricket getting a batsman out - bowled
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The batsman has to try and defend his wicket from being 'put down'. The wicket is "put down" if a bail is removed from its resting position or a stump is uprooted from the ground. if the delivered ball puts the batsman's wicket down, either due to the batsman failing to hit the ball, or off a deflection of his bat or body, the batsman is out – bowled. If it is put down either by the body or  bat of the batsman, in attempting to play the ball, he is also out – hit-wicket.

Hit-Wicket is a dismissal when the batsman dislodges the bails either with his body or bat
  • Video: Hit-Wicket is a dismissal when the batsman dislodges the bails either with his body or bat
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'Bowled' is similar to the strikeout in baseball.

If the batsman hits the ball with his bat, it is called a shot or stroke. If the ball brushes the side of the bat it is called an edge or snick. Shots are named for the style of swing of the bat and the direction in the field to which the batsman desires to hit the ball. He may hit the ball to any part of the field he desires. Depending on the team's strategy, he may be required to bat defensively in an effort to not get out, or bat aggressively to score runs quickly.

Scoring runs

Team records: Twenty20 max: 260; min 67. ODI max: 443; min: 35; average 245. Tests max: 952 as of 2010-07-04
Highest individual score: 117 in Twenty20, 200* in ODI and 400* in Tests as of 2010-07-04
Running between the wickets. When to run.
  • Video: Running between the wickets. When to run.
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To score a run, a striker must hit the ball and sprint to the opposite end of the pitch, while his non-striking partner runs to his end. The most common way to score runs is to hit the ball between two fielders. Both the batsmen must touch the ground behind the popping crease with either his bat or his body to register a run.

In cricket it is much easier to score a run than in baseball as a single run is vaguely equivalent to a baseball single.

If the striker hits the ball well enough, the batsmen may double back to score two or more runs. At times, up to four runs may be scored off a single delivery in this fashion (more are possible, but rare). This is known as running between wickets. If an odd run is scored (1 or 3), the non-striking batsman now turns the striker as he remains at the batting crease after the run is scored.


[Graphic: Run-out]
  • Run-out is a mode of dismissal where the batsman are stuck between the two creases when the bails are removed

After the ball is hit by the batsman, the fielders try to intercept the hit balls and return them to the pitch so that the bowler or wicket-keeper can knock the bails off either wicket with the ball. If neither batsman is grounded behind the nearest popping crease when this happens, the nearest batsman is dismissed – run-out.

[Graphic: Safe and unsafe areas]
  • The area on the pitch is marked in red where a batsman can be dismised run-out or stumped. This includes the batting and return creases.
A run-out is effected when the batsman is stranded outside the crease.
  • Video: A run-out is effected when the batsman is stranded outside the crease.
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If a fielder catches a hit ball before it bounces, the batsman is out – caught. Only one batsman can be dismissed per ball bowled.

[Graphic: Caught]
  • Caught is the most common mode of dismissal in cricket
An example of a good catch
  • Video: An example of a good catch
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The batsmen will elect to run only if they believe they have a good chance of scoring runs without getting out. If the striker hits the ball to a nearby fielder, the batsmen may choose not to run. Runs are credited to a batsman only if he hits the ball with his bat, or with a gloved hand holding the bat.

A run-out is similar to a ground-out in baseball, and a catch is identical to a flyout.

In the image above, a batsman has to be in the area marked in green to be safe from a run-out. The danger area also includes the popping creases.


If the fielders fail to stop the hit ball from reaching the boundary of the field, four runs are credited to the batsman instantaneously, irrespective of the number of times he ran between the wickets. If the ball flies directly over the boundary without touching the ground inside the field, then the batsman scores six runs instead of four.

Six runs is the cricket equivalent of a home-run in baseball
Fours and sixes scored by Brian Lara in one over.
  • Video: Fours and sixes scored by Brian Lara in one over.
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'Boundary' could also mean:
  • Perimeter of the field
  • The rope that forms the perimeter
  • Four runs specifically
  • Four and six runs collectively


After the completion of an over, the batting and bowling ends are swapped, and correspondingly the field positions are adjusted. The umpires also interchange their field positions – the square-leg umpire becomes the main umpire and vice-versa. However, the striker and non-striker do not swap ends and the non-striker now becomes the striking batsman. The bowler now takes up a fielding position, while a fielder takes the bowling task.

The fielding team may use as many bowlers (all eleven players are allowed to bowl) as it deems strategically useful, but the number of overs that a player may bowl is limited in one-day and T20 matches so that no player may bowl more than 1/5 of the total overs. Thus, a minimum of five players must bowl. A captain usually employs two specialist bowlers, bowling in tandem for a "spell" of several consecutive overs, before replacing them.

Once a batsman is out, he is replaced by a teammate and is not allowed to bat further in the innings. This continues until ten out of eleven batsmen are out, in that case the innings is closed. The next batsman who arrives must be on the field within three minutes. Else he can be out – timed-out.


Every run scored by the batsmen contributes to the team's total. A team's total also includes a number of runs which are unaccredited to any batsmen. These runs are known as extras, or sometimes sundries. Extras consist of byes, leg-byes, no-balls, and wides. The former two are runs that can be scored if the batsman misses making contact with bat and ball, and the latter two are types of fouls committed by the bowler. Extra runs are a fairly common occurrence in most matches.

Byes and Leg-Byes

In the event of the batsman not hitting the ball, he is allowed to run between the wickets, provided he attempted to hit the ball or avoided being hit by the delivered ball. If the chance arises, to earn such kinds of runs without getting run-out, the runs are called byes. A leg-bye is scored when the batsman fails to hit the ball, but it touches his body or clothing and scores a run / runs.

Leg Before Wicket

[Graphic: Leg Before Wicket]
  • LBW or Leg Before Wicket is the most complex method of dismissal and depends on the umpire to make a give a batsman out

Now the case may arise that a batsman could use his body to prevent the delivered ball from hitting the wicket instead of his bat. To prevent such a measure, the 'Leg Before Wicket' (LBW) rule applies, which would dismiss the batsman. If the batsman fails to hit the ball and the delivery hits his body (usually the leg), the fielding team can appeal to the umpire for an LBW dismissal. If the umpire judges that the trajectory of the ball would have bowled the batsman had his foot not been in the way, the batsman is out–LBW (Other factors come into consideration in this case and are mentioned later in the advanced topics).


A wide is a delivery that passes at a considerable distance of the striker where he is standing (usually more than a bat's length), such that it is difficult for the striker to reach it. The umpire calls it a wide ball if the batsman fails to hit it. A wide ball is not counted as one of the six deliveries in an over, which means that the delivery will have to be re-bowled. The bowling team is also penalized by adding one extra run to the batting team's tally. Byes scored off a wide are also added to the team score


A no-ball is an illegal delivery. There are many ways that the bowling team can be penalized by a no-ball. The most common occurrence is when a bowler oversteps the popping crease. Other ways of a delivery called a no-ball are:-

  • when the delivery goes directly over the striker's waist
  • bounces above shoulder height of the striker
  • throwing the ball instead of bowling
  • bounces twice or rolls before reaching the striker
  • violation of field restrictions (seen later)

If a striker hits the no-ball and scores any additional runs, those runs are credited to him. Like a wide, a no-ball is not considered to be a one of the six deliveries and has to be bowled again, along with the addition of a run to the score. A no-ball takes precedence over a wide ball, if a no-ball also happens to be a wide-ball.

Free hit

In ODI and Twenty20 cricket, if a no-ball is called for overstepping the popping crease, the following delivery is known as a free hit. A batsman cannot be dismissed caught, bowled, LBW, stumped, or hit-wicket off a freehit delivery. The fielding team is also not permitted make a change to the field for the free hit delivery. If the free hit is a foul – such as wide or no-ball, the free hit extends to the next delivery. As the free hit is a penalty imposed on the fielding team, the free hit delivery is not considered as one of the six (legal) deliveries that a bowler has to bowl to complete an over. Free hits allow the batsman to hit the ball for maximum runs without the chance of getting out.


[Graphic: The cricket field]
  • The cricket field
[Graphic: The cricket field]
  • The cricket field

The wicket-keeper is a specialist fielder who stands behind the batsman's wicket throughout the game. His primary job is to gather deliveries that the batsman fails to hit, to prevent them running into the outfield, which would enable batsmen to score byes. Due to his proximity to the striker, the wicket-keeper has a good chance of getting a batsman out caught off a fine edge from the bat. A striker can be out – stumped if he leaves his batting crease in playing a delivery, voluntarily or involuntarily, but the ball goes to the wicket-keeper who uses it to put the 'wicket down' before the batsman has remade his ground.

Other dismissals

  • If either batsman wilfully touches the ball with his hand while the ball is in play, he can be out – handled the ball. This does not apply to the hand holding the bat or if the batsman touches the ball to avoid injury.
  • A striker is out 'Hit the ball twice' if, while the ball is in play, it strikes any part of his body or bat and, before the ball has been touched by a fielder, he wilfully strikes it again with his bat or person. He cannot be out in this fashion if he uses his leg or bat as a barrier to prevent the ball from rolling onto the wicket.
  • A batsman is out – obstructing the field if he wilfully hinders a fielder from fielding the ball either in word or action.

Not-outs due to extras

An individual cannot be out – caught, bowled, 'leg before wicket', stumped, or 'hit-wicket' off a no-ball or a free hit. He also cannot be out – caught, bowled, 'leg before wicket', or 'hit the ball twice' off a wide – for the simple reason that the ball is too far away to make contact. Any runs scored by the batsmen in the delivery during which a batsman gets dismissed, is annulled. The exception to this rule is the run-out, in which, any runs scored before the run which the batsman failed to complete, is tallied. If a batsman is out in more than two ways, then bowled takes precedence followed by the caught dismissal.

The (bowler's end) umpire adjudicates most decisions. The square-leg umpire can only adjudicate on a stumping, hit-wicket or run-out at the striker's end, as he has a better view. He may also call a no-ball on the basis of height, if the (bowling end) umpire fails to call it.


A batsman may retire from batting anytime in the innings. If he is injured during batting he is entitled to leave the field and this is known as retired – not-out. The next batsman in the lineup replaces him. He may resume his batting later in the innings only after a team mate is dismissed. If he is not injured and retires, he may resume his innings solely on the consent of the opposing captain, and if refused, the batsman is declared retired – out.

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