How cricket is played


Dr. Clifford Molefe

 In today’s edition, we will be looking at how cricket is played and explaining some of the fundamentals of the game. However, before getting into the basics, let me share with you the types of cricket fields, the ball, and the bat.


The field of cricket could be circular, natural, or artificial turf, depending on the availability of resources such as ground and finances.

Let me emphasise that we have three types of cricket fields. They are turf, portable fields, and synthetic pitches. Sizes vary from ground to ground.

In Lesotho, we use a portable pitch, whereby we put a mat in the centre of the normal ground and play on it. That fabric is removable at all times and kept in a safe place.

There are 11 players per team positioned around the oval. The oval is the field of play as far as cricket is concerned.


The cricket ball construction is composed of a core of cork built up with string, and it has raised seams. The size is a circumference of around nine inches (slightly smaller, harder, and heavier than a baseball).


The bat is made of willow wood, with a maximum width of 4.25 inches and a maximum length of 38 inches.

Cricket is played with two teams of 11 players each. Each side takes turns batting and playing the field, as in baseball. In cricket, the batter is a batsman, and the pitcher is a bowler.

The bowler tries to knock down the bails of the wicket. A batsman prevents the bowler from hitting the wicket by hitting the ball. Two batsmen are on the pitch at the same time.


The batters can run after the ball is hit. A run is scored each time they change places on the pitch. The team with the highest number of runs (typically in the hundreds) wins the match.

Six runs are collected when the ball is hit out of the field on a fly, and when the ball is hit out of the field on a bounce, it constitutes four runs. Hence, all those runs would be added to the total score of that match.


A player is bowled out when the bowler knocks over (breaks) the wickets with a bowl. Then the other player comes in.

The player is caught out when the fielder catches the batted ball on the fly. When the fielder catches the ground ball and throws it at the wicket, knocking it down before the batsman gets there, there is a runout.

Thirdly, the player is dismissed by Leg Before Wicket when the batsman’s body interferes with a bowled ball that would hit the wicket.

The game is over when both sides take turns batting and fielding. Each bat, called an ‘over’, comprises no more than six bowls per batsman.

The fielding team must retire or dismiss 10 batsmen to end the innings (always plural). There are two innings in one match.

However, world cup matches are limited to one inning per team and a limit of 50 overs per inning. Non-elimination games are limited to a single day. Elimination games are allowed a second day if needed.

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