In last night's Scotland-Sri Lanka match, Scotland lost their last wicket after 43.1 overs, 363/9 to 215/10 (43.1). At that point, averaging just under 5 runs per over, Scotland would have reached a point around the 47th over, where it would have been no longer (realistically) possible to win the match.

For example, say they had not been dismissed in 43.1, and instead scored 5 (more) runs in that over, leading to 220 at 44.0. They then scored 5 more runs for the next several overs; at 47.0 they have a score of 235. With 18 balls remaining in 3 overs, they now trail by 128; but even if they hit sixes on every single ball, they could only score 108. Yes, there might have been extras, but hardly twenty of them.

Had this happened, would they continue to bat (pointlessly)? (I realize that in some circumstances, total runs scored might factor into tiebreaks for going on, but clearly not in Scotland's case.) Would it have been by choice (similar to declaring an innings at end in a Test match, though that is usually for the opposite reason) or by rule?

More generally:

In a limited overs match (an ODI or similar), is there a criteria for ending a game prematurely when it is determined to be no longer possible that the team batting second can win?

  • And yes, it was not realistically possible for Scotland to win the match when they came to bat (or even to bowl), but here I mean realistically more stringently :)
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 17:40
  • 1
    It's never impossible for the team batting second to win. The bowling team could suddenly bowl 100 no balls, or give away 100 in overthrows.
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 17:51
  • Sure, in theory (as I mention in the question), but in practice more than a few no balls (out of 18 balls!) would not happen in an international match (or similar level). Hence my curiosity if there is a rule to stop play, or a convention to voluntarily stop play, or not.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 17:56
  • Please edit your question to reflect that as it's a significantly different question.
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 17:57
  • My question states that specifically. Read the second to last paragraph.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 18:08

1 Answer 1


The ODI regulations specifically prevent a side from declaring, so the option of just stopping batting is not present (see section 14 of this PDF).

In theory, they could simply walk off the pitch and forfeit, but would be subject to sanctions if that happened, making it incredibly unlikely.

In short, even if you know you cannot win (barring Philip Kendall's scenario in the comments), you play the game to it's conclusion.

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