Cricket, and in particular, how it is scored

For 12 squared, and anyone else who is confused. And cares.

There are currently two basic game formats in cricket, which are scored slightly differently. In any format of cricket, the team that scores the most runs wins.

However, in first-class and Test match cricket, in order to win the game, a team has to not only score more runs than the opposition, but also has to get all of the other team out. Twice, as each team bats for two innings each. If neither team bowls the other out twice within the allocated time for the game (usually 3 or 4 days for first-class, and 5 days for Tests), then the game is a draw, regardless of how far behind one of the teams may be in terms of number of runs scored.

Thus Test cricket (and 1st class) places a higher importance on bowling, and taking wickets (getting people out), than the shorter forms of the game.

Test matches are played between countries who have a cricket team of a high enough standard to compete. And Bangladesh. But hopefully they’ll get better as time goes on.

First-class matches are played in countries where the game is played professionally, like England, Australia, Pakistan, India, South Africa, West Indies etc. Usually between county or state sides.

Club cricket, relying as it does on keen amateur players, who commonly need to go to work during the week and would find it tricky to explain to their employer why they didn’t turn up for work 3 or 4 days out of every week in the summer, tends to use the shorter forms of the game – 50 over and Twenty20.

50 over cricket is played over the course of one day. (One over is six deliveries bowled by one bowler). One team bats until they are all out, or they have batted for 50 overs. Then the other team bats for 50 overs, or until they are all out, or until they have scored more runs than the team batting first, whichever is the sooner.

Twenty20 is the same, but played over 20 overs (each) instead of 50. Being shorter, it can be played in an evening as it only takes 2-3 hours.

Clubs all over the world have been playing 20 over cricket for decades, but a few years ago it was a launched officially in England and played by county sides with professional players. It was (and still is) a big hit with crowds, and its popularity has spread to other countries. Recently the first international Twenty20 tournament was played in South Africa. India won it. Cricket is virtually a religion in India, with 50 over cricket being most popular, but the expectation is that Twenty20 will now take over as the most popular format since India’s win.

Cricket fans in England, and possibly Australia, still prefer the Test match format. We’re purists, y’see.

Finally for now, an example of a cricket score is 112/6. The first number (112 in this case) denotes how many runs the team has scored, the second the number of wickets (the number of outs, in baseball parlance). Since in the longer forms of the game each team can bat twice, a score might read England 454 & 189/6, Sri Lanka 421. In this case England are 189/6 in their second innings, having scored 454 in their first innings. Sri Lanka scored 421 in their first innings and are still to bat their second innings.

There we are, a brief overview, leaving out some background detail for the sake of clarity, such as the pitch/weather factors. If anyone wishes to correct anything, or add to what is here, please be my guest…

3 thoughts on “Cricket, and in particular, how it is scored”

  1. Wow… much clicking into the place going on in my head. Thanks for that coherent explanation! Yet still my Sri Lankan blood does not make me feel compelled to watch the game ;P

  2. I really do thank you tremendously, and could honestly still use some help on the cricket front, but like someone else said on my blog, I think there’s a liklihood that you have to have been born to it to really understand the finer points.

    email link on my profile now, also clicking the thing here, too… to see if it works or just hates me talking at work.

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