When you first get interested in cricket, it can be hard to get your head around the rules regarding how games are won and lost. Trust me, I’ve been there! Back in the 2005 Ashes series, I had no idea why England didn’t win the 3rd test match at Old Trafford against Australia seeing as they had scored more runs over two innings! After 5 days of play…the game ended as a draw, and I was incredibly confused. For those of you that are as confused now as I was back then, let’s try to clear things up a little
Test matches last for a maximum of 5 days with 90 overs being bowled per day, whereas some other first-class matches will last a maximum of 3 or 4 days. Teams will always have the opportunity to bat twice, however in some games that will not be required. It is possible that a team may score a vast amount of runs in one innings, then bowl the other team out twice for a combined total that is less than their original score, thus winning the game. For example, let’s say Team A bats first and is bowled out for 150. Team B then responds with a total of 500 all out. Team A bats for the second time, but this time they’re bowled out for 250. In this case, Team B would have won the test match while only batting once as they scored 500 runs to Team A’s 400!
All test and first class matches will end in a draw unless one team manages to get 20 wickets and bowl the other team out twice!* It is worth noting at this point that draws are extremely common in this type of cricket. However, there are some extremely rare instances when these matches can end in a tie! My first question when I first heard this was ‘what is the difference between a draw and a tie?’ Well…the answer is quite simple. Draws occur when a test/first class match ends with neither team having managed to bowl the other side out twice*. A tie occurs when one or both teams have been bowled out twice, but the combined scores from both innings of each team are level after the final wicket is taken. Again, this may be easier to understand with an example, so here goes: Imagine Team A bats first and is bowled out for 300 runs. Team B responds with a total of 340 all out. Team A bats again and posts 300 all out for a second time. Team B now begin their final innings chasing 260 runs to tie, or 261 runs to win. They lose their final wicket for a total of 260 runs, meaning that both teams have been bowled out fully with the scores across both innings level. This would be classed as a tie…and like I said, they’re extremely rare! There have only been two tied test matches in the history of cricket!
Due to there being a maximum of 300 deliveries in an innings, batsmen can play in a much more carefree manner, which leads to faster scoring rates and more boundaries. In this format of the game, it is not necessary to bowl the other team out to win, it can simply come down to the number of runs scored.
It is possible for limited overs matches to end in a tie, and this occurs when both teams score exactly the same amount of runs after both innings have concluded. It does not matter how the innings concluded – if the team batting last runs out of deliveries with the scores level, you have a tie. Also, if the team batting last loses their final wicket with the scores level, you have a tie.
If a tie occurs, this will often be recorded as the final result of the match. However, in a small number of cases where an outright winner must be determined such as the world cup final, another method is introduced as a means of deciding the game. The method currently used the most in cricket is called a ‘Super Over’ (Continue reading this post if you want to find out all about those!). Finally, it should be noted that it is impossible for one day international games to end in a draw, however a ‘no result’ is possible. The meaning of ‘no result’ will also be explained later in this post!
The winning team in a T20 game is the team that has scored the most runs after 20 overs of batting per team. The criteria for securing a win in a T20 game is exactly the same as the criteria i just mentioned for ODI’s, but I thought I would add a specific section for this. The only significant difference between the two formats of the game is the length of the innings. Again, it is possible for T20 matches to end in a tie! This can be recorded as the final result if the rules of the tournament or series permit that, but super overs are much more widely used in T20 cricket. Finally, 20 over matches cannot end in a draw, but ‘no result’ is possible.
Other Ways Games of Cricket Can Be Won & Lost
A super over is a small mini game that is used to determine a winning and a losing team of a limited overs match after they’ve ended their innings on the exact same number of runs – commonly known as a tie! Super overs are primarily used in T20 cricket, however certain 50 over tournaments have seen them included too. The general rules of a super over are as follows:
- Each team has 1 over (6 balls) to bat
- Each team must nominate 3 batsmen and 1 bowler to represent them in the super over.
- Each team of 3 batsmen has a chance to face an over from the opposing bowler. The team that scores the highest number of runs after the conclusion of their over will win the match.
- No balls, wides and other illegal deliveries carry the same penalties as usual and each one bowled will cause the super over to be extended by one delivery.
- If the batting side loses two wickets, then the super over ends at that point.
- If both teams score the same amount of runs off their super overs, the following rules are used to decide the outcome of the game. These rules are applied in rank order, so if teams are still tied after rule number 1 is considered, the game will be decided by rule 2, and so on and so forth!
- The team that scored the most boundaries during the main part of the match as well as the super over will win the game.
- The team that scored the most boundaries during the main part of the match will win the game. This ignores any boundaries scored during the super over.
- The umpires shall conduct a count-back from the final ball of the super over. The team with the higher scoring delivery is the winner. So for example, under this rule, if Team A hit a 6 off their last ball but Team B scored a single, Team A would be declared the winner of the game! It should be noted that runs scored from illegal deliveries count towards the total for the following legal delivery.