For those new to cricket, understanding its various match formats can be confusing. Imagine attending the IPL final in Ahmedabad in May – a fast, exciting game that ends within hours.
Then think about switching to a Test match at Lords in June – players in white, strategic gameplay, and matches that can last up to five days.
These differences arise from the many types of cricket matches. Not only that, but matches differ at international, domestic, and franchise levels, making things even more intricate.
In this article, we’ll explore each level of cricket and explain the different types of cricket matches you’ll find. We’ll also talk about how long each type usually lasts and the duration of an inning in each format.
Now let’s explore: What are all of the different types of cricket matches?
|Maximum of 5 days
|One Day Internationals (ODIs)
|50 overs per side
|T20 Internationals (T20Is)
|20 overs per side
|Four Day Games
|Usually span 4 days
|50 Over Matches (per side)
|50 overs per side
|40 Over Matches (per side)
|40 overs per side
|30 Over Matches (per side)
|30 overs per side
|20 Over Matches (per side)
|20 overs per side
|10 Over Matches (per side)
|10 overs per side
|Hundred Ball Cricket (per side)
|100 balls per side
|Countdown Cricket (junior level)
|Played at junior level
|Kwik Cricket (junior level)
|Played at junior level
|Tape Ball Cricket
Now let’s look at the types of cricket matches individually in detail:
At the international level, there are three types of cricket matches. They are stated below:
1. Test Matches
Test matches epitomise cricket’s heritage, inaugurated in 1877 with England and Australia’s iconic clash at the MCG. These matches unfold in traditional white attire and feature a red cricket ball.
Spanning up to 5 days, each day consists of 90 overs. Yet, history has seen fluctuations – there were instances when test matches extended indefinitely, resolved only when a victor emerged.
Both teams get two batting opportunities, without a strict timeframe for innings. To triumph, a team must dismiss the opponent twice (20 wickets) and surpass their runs. For instance, envision England scoring 350 in the first innings against Australia’s 300.
England holds a 50-run lead. If they score 250 in the second inning, their lead becomes 300. Australia must score 300 to win. If they succeed, they triumph; if England bowls them out, they claim victory.
The annals of cricket showcase legendary test sides: Australia in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the West Indies in the late 1970s and 80s. Their supremacy yielded cricket luminaries like Michael Holding, Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, and Viv Richards.
Sachin Tendulkar tops test run charts with 15,921 runs across 200 matches. Muttiah Muralitharan’s mystery spin earned him 800 wickets in 133 games.
2. One Day Internationals (ODI’s)
One Day International (ODI) matches came as the second internationally recognized format after a game between England and Australia in 1971. Interestingly, bad weather turned the intended test match into an ODI, prompting the inception of this format.
The concept gained real traction in the late 1970s with Kerry Packer’s ‘World Series Cricket,’ and the first ODI World Cup took place in 1975.
In these matches, players don coloured clothing and use a white ball to enhance visibility against the backdrop of vibrant attire. ODIs span a single day, where each team gets one chance to bat for a maximum of 50 overs (300 balls). After both teams complete their innings, the one with the highest total runs wins.
For instance, if Sri Lanka scores 330/7 in their 50 overs, the West Indies must chase 331 within their 50 overs to win. If the West Indies manage 300/10 in 45 overs, they lose not only because of their lower score but also because they used fewer overs to bat.
ODIs are renowned for their excitement, drawing large crowds who relish high-scoring matches with frequent boundaries. To heighten the entertainment, ‘power plays’ were introduced, dictating fielding positions during specific phases of the game to favour the batsmen.
Among the players, AB de Villiers has been my personal favourite ODI batsman to watch, while England’s batting lineup post-2015 has also been captivating. In the bowling department, Dale Steyn’s prowess always stood out in this format.
3. T20 Internationals (T20I)
T20 internationals represent cricket’s newest addition, debuting with the first women’s match in 2004 and the maiden men’s match in early 2005. This format has gained immense traction, highlighted by the regular occurrence of T20 World Cups.
Dressed in coloured attire and wielding a white cricket ball, these matches have become a spectacle in their own right.
Taking place within a single day, T20 internationals allow each team a single batting innings, mirroring the setup of one-day internationals. The distinguishing feature is that the batting innings span only 20 overs or 120 balls. After both sides bat, victory goes to the team with the highest number of runs.
For instance, if India scores 190 runs in their 20 overs, and England successfully chases it with 191 runs in 19 overs, England would triumph with an over to spare.
Power Plays are integral to T20 internationals, encouraging aggressive boundary-hitting at the innings’ outset. Consequently, teams position their most powerful hitters at the top, exploiting the fielding restrictions.
These games showcase cricket’s most explosive talents, with batters often achieving strike rates surpassing 100, while skilful bowlers strive to slow them down.
For those seeking to witness elite T20 performers like Jos Buttler confronting top bowlers such as Jasprit Bumrah, Rashid Khan, or Sunil Narine, T20 internationals promise a riveting spectacle.
At the domestic level, there are nine types of cricket matches. They are stated below:
1. Four-Day Games:
Four-day matches stand out as a popular form of cricket played at the county/state level. In England, these contests feature county teams like Yorkshire and Lancashire. Similarly, Australia sees state teams like Queensland and New South Wales engaged, while India witnesses teams like Mumbai and Gujarat in action.
Functioning much like test matches, these matches endure for a maximum of four days instead of five. Notably, both participating teams have two batting opportunities, and there’s no imposed timeframe for innings duration. Victory hinges on dismissing the opposition twice while ensuring one’s team scores the most runs.
I closely follow four-day county cricket, especially since English county teams now livestream their games on platforms like YouTube. As a Yorkshire supporter, I’ve taken a particular interest in players like David Bedingham, Simon Harmer, and the former England captain Alastair Cook in recent years.
2. 50 Over Matches (Per Side):
Often played at club levels, teams get 50 overs each to bat. Professionals partake in tournaments like the Royal London One Day Cup (UK) and One Day Cup (Australia), where the principles mirror One Day Internationals (ODIs). One team sets the target and the other chases. Matches span around 6 hours.
3. 40 Over Matches (Per Side):
More common in club cricket, they featured in past competitions like Pro40 and YB40. Played like ODIs, these matches offer 40 overs for each team’s batting innings.
4. 30 Over Matches (Per Side):
Rare in pro cricket but prevalent at amateur levels due to quicker completion time. Each team bats once, attempting to amass the highest score within their 30 overs.
5. 20 Over Matches (Per Side):
Popular worldwide, they are a thrilling variant known as T20 cricket. Tournaments like IPL, Vitality Blast, and PSL feature these matches, gathering global attention. Each side gets 20 overs, aiming to score the most runs.
6. 10 Over Matches (Per Side):
Emerging in T10 leagues, such as Abu Dhabi T10, these intense games are power-packed. Players like Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali take part, adding to the excitement. Each team gets 10 overs to showcase their batting prowess.
7. Hundred Ball Cricket (Per Side):
The newest format is epitomised by The Hundred tournament in the UK. Each team bats 100 balls (using “sets” of 5 or 10), rather than overs. Matches are completed in about 2 hours, designed to attract casual fans.
8. Countdown Cricket:
Simplified version for kids where balls left in the innings are counted down. The team with the most runs at the end wins. Rules can vary based on location.
9. Kwik Cricket:
Geared towards young players, Kwik Cricket is inclusive and fun. Teams of 8 players have pairs that bat for 2 overs each. Matches span 8 overs, and the team adding the most runs wins.
At the informal level, there are three types of cricket matches. They are stated below:
1. Gully Cricket
Gully cricket, also known as street cricket, beach cricket, or backyard cricket depending on the location, is a versatile version of the game that embraces players of all ages. In India, it’s predominantly known as gully cricket.
This form of cricket is characterised by its absence of fixed rules, allowing improvisation in various aspects including the playing conditions, surface, equipment, and team sizes. Unconventional regulations might include rules like ‘hit a six and you’re out.’
Furthermore, makeshift wickets such as boxes or bins are often used. These relaxed conditions make gully cricket accessible to everyone.
Frequently, gully cricket is played individually. Each batter competes to amass runs before getting out, while others rotate as bowlers. This was my early experience with cricket – playing in my backyard before joining a formal team.
It serves as an excellent gateway for newcomers to the sport. If you’re considering stepping into the cricketing world, gully cricket is a fantastic starting point!
Another cricketing variant that I enjoyed during my younger years, especially at school, is continuous cricket. It serves as an excellent introduction to the sport, offering newcomers a taste without allowing seasoned players to dominate too heavily.
Continuous cricket can be enjoyed by people of all ages on various surfaces. All you need are two teams, a cricket bat, a suitable ball for the surface, and a set of stumps. Marking an area on the ground using cones or other items might be necessary.
To initiate the game, one player from the batting side becomes the first batter. Positioned in front of the stumps, they face the bowler situated a few metres away. Cones are placed on either side of the stumps, around 5 metres apart, serving as markers for runs.
The remaining batting team members stay off the field, while fielders take their positions to catch and field the ball.
With everyone set, the bowler underarms the ball toward the batter, who aims to hit it. Regardless of whether the batter makes contact, they must sprint to the cone and back to the stumps as swiftly as possible. A well-hit ball might enable the battery to run between the cone and stumps multiple times for multiple runs.
Fielders strive to return the ball to the bowler promptly, as the bowler can deliver the next ball even if the batter hasn’t reached the stumps.
If the batter is caught hitting the ball in the air or if the bowler hits the stumps, they’re out, replaced by the next batter. The runs they scored contributed to the team’s total. Ultimately, the team with the highest total wins!
3 . Tape Ball Cricket
Tape ball cricket involves playing cricket with a tennis ball wrapped in electrical tape—hence the name. This casual variant is especially popular in regions like Pakistan, where you’ll often find youngsters playing it in parks and on the streets.
Rules for tape ball cricket tend to vary among different groups of players. However, the most distinct aspect of this format is how the ball behaves and the unique challenges it presents. Unlike a standard tennis ball, a tape ball maintains its speed and skids along the ground upon impact, posing a challenge for the batsmen.
Some players opt to tape only half of the ball, adding to the difficulty for the batsmen. This tactic induces swing in the direction of the taped side, providing a significant advantage to the bowlers.
I hope this article has provided you with a comprehensive understanding of the various types of cricket matches that are played. While there might be some lesser-known cricket formats not covered here, I’ve aimed to address the ones you’re most likely to encounter.
As a young enthusiast, I found test cricket captivating, and it continues to hold a special place in my heart as the pinnacle of the sport. Witnessing memorable test matches like Headingley 2019 and Edgbaston 2005 has been a true privilege.
Nevertheless, I’m equally drawn to limited-overs cricket such as ODI’s and T20’s, as they bridge the gap between casual fans and the fervent cricket aficionados often seen at test matches.
Whether you’re new to watching or playing cricket, Cricketer’s Hub offers a range of posts that will undoubtedly pique your interest. Feel free to explore the content, and I’m confident you’ll discover something relevant and engaging!
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