Innings, googly, lolly, jaffa… Cricket may seem like a complicated sport, but don’t let that put you off enjoying the game.
Cricket fans have been spoiled over the last few weeks as some of the world’s best players have come to Abu Dhabi recently to compete in a range of One Day International (ODI), Twenty20 (T2O) and Test matches at Zayed Cricket Stadium.
With such world-class action on our doorstep, and more matches on the way, there’s never been a better time to learn more about the sport while enjoying a great family day out.
But if you struggle to follow what’s going on on the field, we’ve got you covered.
Understanding the game
In cricket, each side consists of 11 players, including a wicket-keeper, a set of specialist batsmen and bowlers, and some all-rounders (who both bat and bowl).
A cricket field, which is generally round, comprises an infield and an outfield. In the middle there are two sets of stumps that are a combination of three vertical posts that support two bails on top, collectively known as a wicket.
In front of each set of stumps is a chalk line, known as the crease, where the batsman must remain inside to avoid being ‘run out’. Batting is also done in pairs, with one batsman standing at each stump, directly across from one another.
The objective for the batting side is to score as many runs as possible before they lose ten wickets, while the bowling side tries to minimise the amount of runs that are scored and get them out.
The batsman’s responsibility is to protect their stumps and try to score runs by striking the ball and running to the opposite crease while the other batsman runs to the crease where the ball was struck.
Meanwhile, the bowler’s job is to propel the ball towards the wicket being defended by
the batsman in sets of six, which is known as an over.
A batsman can be dismissed if the ball is caught by the fielding side before it bounces; if they step outside the crease and the wicket-keeper removes the bails with a ball; if the batsman uses a leg to prevent the ball hitting the stumps; if a batsman hits the wicket; and if the stumps they are running towards are hit with the ball before they are inside their crease.
A single point is given for a run between stumps, four points are won if a ball is hit out of the boundary and it bounces and six points are awarded if a ball is hit directly out of the boundary by the batsman.
Enforcing the laws of the game are a team of umpires, two of whom are out on the pitch, with a third off the field who is responsible for making the more difficult decisions.
A coin toss is used to determine which side bats first, with the game divided into a pre-determined number of innings, the divisions in the game where each side takes turns batting and then bowling.
In a Test match, there are four innings with each side bowling and batting twice.
The difference between each form of cricket is the variation of the number of overs and innings that will be played.
In a Test match, the game lasts a total of five days, with each day consisting of 90 overs and each team playing two innings.
An ODI, on the other hand, is limited to 50 overs each, with a total two innings.
Finally, T20 matches are limited to 20 overs each, with a total of two innings.
Inspired to see cricket live? Watch Pakistan face New Zealand in the first in a series of three Test matches to be played in the UAE from 16th to 20th November. Further matches will take place in December. Free entry. Zayed Cricket Stadium, Khalifa City. Gates open at 9am, match starts at 10am. Visit: abudhabicricket.ae
WORDS Colin Armstrong