Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on a field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch.
Two sets of three sticks, called wickets, are set in the ground at each end of the pitch. Across the top of each wicket lie horizontal pieces called bails. The sides take turns at batting and bowling (pitching); each turn is called an “innings” (always plural). Sides have one or two innings each, depending on the prearranged duration of the match, the object being to score the most runs. The bowlers, delivering the ball with a straight arm, try to break (hit) the wicket with the ball so that the bails fall. This is one of several ways that the batsman is dismissed, or put out. A bowler delivers six balls at one wicket (thus completing an “over”), then a different player from his side bowls six balls to the opposite wicket. The batting side defends its wicket. 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 normally 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. Runs are also awarded for striking the ball outside the field of play.
The teams switch between batting and fielding at the end of an innings. In a Test match, each team has two innings, but in a One-Day International or Twenty20 International match each team has only one innings.
The team that wins is the team with most runs after all innings have been completed.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the international governing body of cricket . But it is the MCC which revised the Laws of Cricket in 1788 and continues to reissue them (from time to time), and remains the copyright holder.
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