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There are hundreds of rules coverning the cricket game in its different variations. This page only wants to give a rough overview about how the game is being played. Single rules are not discussed in detail.


Two teams with eleven players each play against eacht other. One team starts bowling, the other team starts scoring. After a certain time, positions change. The team achieving the highest scores wins.

The eleven players of a team consist - on the one side - of two batsmen and - on the other side - of bowlers and fielders. Ever player takes each of these positions during the game.

The batsmen hit the ball slightly above the ground or in the air and try to make as many runs as possible, that means to score as many points as possible.

The bowlers bowl the balls in such a way that they are most difficult to hit.

The field players (the bowler's team) are positioned on the playground and have to catch the balls hit by the batsman, to see to it that they do not reach beyond the playground and that they go back to the centre as quickly as possible.

Before a game starts, the captains of each team throw a coin. The winner decides whether his team should bat first or bowl first.

The batting team gathers scores while the fielding team tries to have the batsmen out with as few scores as possible.

The team that bats first tries to run as many scores as possible. The aim is a total score of about 300. 300 scores means that every ball resulted in a run. But that is not so easy. Weather and pitch conditions as well as batting and bowling technique most of the time mean that less points are being scored. Of course, on a good day, a team might also score more than 300. The highest scores ever reached were 398 points and the lowest 36. The average is 240.

Central part of field, 20 times 3 metres, often called Wicket

The batsman tries to stay in the game as long as possible and to score as many runs as possible. He may play a long innings or a short one, depending on the team strategy. A long round means many points, i.e. more than 60.

(round) Time during which a team is batting or fielding, respectively

At any given time, the batting team has two batsmen on the field, one on either side of the wicket. The batsman standing opposite the bowler is called the striker and the other one the non-stricker.

Batsman standing opposite the bowler

It is the aim of the batting team to score the maximum number of runs before all batsmen are out. It is the aim of the fielding team to beat the batsmen as cheaply as possible, i.e. to see to it that they are dismissed with as few scores as possible. After that, positions change, i.e. the batting team becomes the fielding team and vice-versa. This exchange happens exactly once (especially in the so-called one day or limited overs cricket) or twice, such as in national or internationl test match cricket.

To score points
(Limited Overs Matches) Every team is playing one innings of 50 overs
(One-Day International Matches) Every team is playing one innings of 50 overs
Match consisting of two innings per team, may last up to five days


After a bowler has bowled a ball, the batsman opposite him tries to hit the ball with his bat. If he hits it, one calls it a shot. If he misses it, there is no penalty. The batsman only has to see to it that his wicket does not fall. If he hits the ball, he has to try to launch it into the field. The ball may be launched in any direction anywhere in the field. It may be hit slightly above the ground or high in the air.

The batsman hits the ball with the bat

As soo as the ball has been hit in positive way, the two batsmen exchange positions. Every exchange of positions is called one run, i.e. means one point. If the ball has been hit very good, two or even four runs may be scored. In the meantime, the field players try to catch the ball and to pass it to their fellow players near the wicket, so that the batting team may score as few points as possible. If an odd number of runs has been reached, the non-striker will be at the striker's position and vice-versa.


The bowler runs towards the pitch in the direction of the striker. He has to release the ball between the bolwing and the batting crease. The bowler has to bowl in such a way that the batsman fails to run scores and is out. The batsman should be out as soon as possible, which means with as few scores as possible. A bowler bowls a maximum of 10 overs, which is called a spell or quota.

Chalk line near the wickets
A bowler bowls during the maximum of 10 overs
A bowler bowls during the maximum of 10 overs

A bowler is judged according to his economy rate. A rate below 4 is very good, above 6 is bad and above 8 is out of question. The economy rate is calculated as follows:

Scores which a team makes in relation to the balls bowled by one bowler

[(A divided throughB ) multiplied with 6.] where:
A = scores of the other team while he is bowling
B = number of balls bowled
e.g.. if 30 scores are made on 30 balls the economy rate is 6 (which is not very good).

The run-up is the distance the bowler runs before actually releasing the ball. The longer the distance the higher the ball's speed will ultimately be.

Distance which the bowler runs before actually throwing the ball


The field players are positioned on the playground. All players of the fielding, i.e. the bowling team are called field players or fielders, except the bowler and the wicketkeeper. They have a series of tasks:

  • They should try to catch the ball directly in the air, which would result in an out of the batsman
  • They should see to it that the ball does not reach beyond the playground, which would give 4 points to the batting team
  • They should try to get the ball as soon as possible back to the bowler or the wicketkeeper, so taht the batsmen cannot score too many runsSie sollen den Ball so schnell wie möglich dem Werfer oder dem Wicketkeeper zurückwerfen, so dass die Schlagmänner nicht zu viele Runs erzielen können


The wicketkeeper is a special field player and is the only one of his team allowed to war gloves. He is positioned behind the striker, behind the stumps, throughout the innings.

Three wooden sticks on top of which are placed the bails, the whole construct is called Wicket
(round) Time during which a team is batting or fielding, respectively

If the batsman does not hit the ball properly but at least touched it with his bat, the wicketkeeper has the possibility to catch the ball. He should also catch balls, launched towards him by the field players, thus trying for a run-rut or stump - both would lead to the batsman being dismissed. Furthermore, he is to catch the balls not hit at all by the batsman. The wicketkeeper is similar to the catcher in american baseball.

(out) The ball hits the wicket before the batsman reaches the return crease
With the ball missed by the batsman, the wicketkeeper hits the bails off the stumps