The Game

Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on a field, at the center of which is a rectangular 22 yard long pitch.

One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the runs scored by the batting team. A run is scored by the striking batsman hitting the ball with his bat, running to the opposite end of the pitch and touching the crease there without being dismissed. The teams switch between batting and fielding at the end of an innings.

The key action takes place in the pitch, a rectangular strip in the centre of the field. The two batsmen face each other at opposite ends of the pitch, each behind a line on the pitch known as a crease. The fielding team's eleven members stand outside the pitch, spread out across the field.

Behind each batsman is a target called a wicket. One designated member of the fielding team, called the bowler, is given a ball, and attempts to bowl the ball from one end of the pitch to the wicket behind the batsman on the other side of the pitch. The batsman tries to prevent the ball from hitting the wicket by striking the ball with a bat. If the bowler succeeds in hitting the wicket, or if the ball, after being struck by the batsman, is caught by the fielding team before it touches the ground, the batsman is dismissed. A dismissed batsman must leave the field, to be replaced by another batsman from the batting team.

If the batsman is successful in striking the ball and the ball is not caught before it hits the ground, the two batsmen may then try to score points (runs) for their team by running across the pitch, grounding their bats behind each other's crease. Each crossing and grounding by both batsmen is worth one run. The batsmen may attempt one run, multiple runs, or elect not to run at all. By attempting runs, the batsmen risk dismissal, which can happen if the fielding team retrieves the ball and hits a wicket with the ball before either batsman reaches the opposite crease.

If the batsman hits the bowled ball over the field boundary without the ball touching the field, the batting team scores six runs and may not attempt more. If the ball touches the ground and then reaches the boundary, the batting team scores four runs and may not attempt more. When the batsmen have finished attempting their runs, the ball is returned to the bowler to be bowled again. The bowler continues to bowl toward the same wicket, regardless of any switch of the batsmen's positions.[r]

After a bowler has bowled six times (an over), another member of the fielding team is designated as the new bowler. The new bowler bowls to the opposite wicket, and play continues. Fielding team members may bowl multiple times during an innings, but may not bowl two overs in succession.

The innings is complete when 10 of the 11 members of the batting team have been dismissed, one always remaining "not out", or when a set number of overs has been played. The number of innings and the number of overs per innings vary depending on the match.



Cricket Pitch

A cricket field