Scoring in cricket matches involves citing two facts, the number of runs scored by each team and the number of wickets each has lost. These are the basic figures likely to be quoted in a media report on a match completed or still in progress.
Overall the number of runs scored is generally the most important figure because the team that scores the most runs wins (though in some games shortened by bad weather that does not necessarily apply directly); the number of wickets lost shows how many wickets the bowling team has to get to end the batting team's innings (and thus how likely the batting team is to improve on its score so far). In making a judgement at any point in a game about which team is more likely to win, other factors would be taken into account, such as the number of overs or the time remaining, the state of the pitch, or even the weather.
Referring to scores
The score of a cricket team whose innings is in progress is given as the number of runs they have scored "for" the number of wickets their opponents have taken. For example, a team that has scored 100 runs and lost three wickets has a score of "a hundred for three", written 100–3 (also 100/3 or 3/100) . A team that is dismissed having scored 300 runs is said to have a score of "three hundred all out", rather than "three hundred for ten"; the score for the innings is then simply written 300. However, if a team declare their innings closed (in a First-class match) or reach an over limit (in a limited-overs match), the number of wickets is included in their score for the innings, for example 275–7. A declaration is noted by appending a "d" or "dec" to the score (for example 300–8d); such a score is spoken in the standard form with the word "declared" appended (example: "300 for 8 declared").
In a two innings match, the scores of each team for their two innings are given separately. An example of a score for a two innings match in progress would be: Team A 240 & 300–7d, Team B 225 & 130–4. This indicates that Team A in their first innings scored 240 runs, and Team B made 225 in reply. Team A then made 300 for 7 in their second innings, declaring it closed, and Team B are currently 130 for 4 (in this scenario, Team B is said to be facing a run chase of 316 and currently trail by 185 runs).
The exception to this is Australia, where it is conventional to reverse the wickets and runs scored, so that what would be written 300–5 elsewhere in the world is written and said 5–300 in Australia.
When a game is completed, there are standard ways of referring to the difference in scores between the two teams. For instance, if Team A, batting first, scored 254–6, then Team B, batting second, only scored 185, whether or not they go all out, it would be said that "Team A won by 69 runs" because they either bowled out the opposition or caused them to exhaust their overs (in a limited-overs match) when they were 69 runs short of their target. On the other hand, if team A, batting first, scored 254–6 but team B, batting second, scored 255–8, it would be said that "team B won by 2 wickets" because they chased down their target with 2 wickets in hand. In a two innings match, a team can win having only batted once (while the other team, batting twice, has not equalled the other team's score). For instance, team A score 160 all out, team B score 530 and declare, then team A score 230 all out. In this case it would be said that team B won by an innings & 140 runs.
In limited over matches (one innings matches), the team that scores more runs wins. So if team A scored 250 from 50 overs with the loss of 1 wicket (250–1), then the target for team B is to get 251. The number of wickets that has fallen doesn't affect which team has won. So if team B scored 251 but with the loss of 9 wickets (251–9), team B still won because it scored more runs, even though it lost more wickets. In a similar situation if team A scored 250/1, but team B scored 240 (all out), then team A would win because it scored more runs. Part way through a limited over match, in order to judge the likely final scores, it is important to know, in addition to runs already scored and wickets already lost, how many overs each side has remaining, so this is always quoted.
In limited over matches shortened by bad weather, the winning team is the one whose scoring is best according to the targets set by the Duckworth-Lewis method. The method used to set targets takes into account both the number of overs and the number of wickets lost.
In First-class cricket (two innings match), the team that scores more runs, having dismissed its opponents twice, is the winner. An example would be: Team A scored 240 in their first innings, and Team B made 225 in reply. Team A then made 300 for 7 in their second innings, declaring it closed (they might do this because there was not much time left in the match and wanted to have time to dismiss team B and win rather than draw the game). Team A would be setting team B a target of 316 to win. If, in the second innings, team B only scored 250 (indeed anything less than 315) then team A would be the winner. If, on the other hand, team B scored 316–9, team B would be the winner. If time or the weather prevents the opposing side's being dismissed twice, the game is a draw, even if one side has scored more than the other. There is no equivalent of Duckworth-Lewis in these matches.
In cricket the term draw only refers to a match which does not reach a conclusion, usually through a lack of time. The term used in cricket to refer to the rare occurrence of two teams getting exactly the same score is a tie. A recent example of a tie was the Friends Provident Trophy match between Somerset and Hampshire on 18 May 2007. Both teams batted out their 50 overs, Somerset scored 220–6 and Hampshire scored 220–9.
Cricket scorers keep track of many other facts of the game. As a minimum a scorer would note:
- For each ball, who bowled it and how many runs were scored from it, whether by the batsman with his bat ('off the bat') or byes.
- For each batsman, every scoring run made.
- For each dismissal, the kind of dismissal (e.g. LBW or run out), the bowler (in the case of a bowling, LBW, catch, or stumping), any other player involved (in the case of a catch or stumping), as well as the total the batting team reached at that point in the game ('the fall of wicket'). Example notations as seen on cricket scorecards:
- For each bowler (his 'figures'), the number of overs bowled, the number of wickets taken, the number of runs conceded, and the number of maiden overs bowled.
Frequently more detail is recorded, for instance, for a batsman, the number of balls faced and the number of minutes batted. Sometimes charts (known as wagon wheels) are prepared showing to which part of the field each scoring shot by a batsman was made (revealing the batman's favourite places to hit the ball)
Technology such as Hawk-Eye allows for more detailed analysis of a bowler's performance. For instance the beehive chart shows where a bowler's balls arrived at a batsman (high, low, wide, on the off stump etc.), while the pitch map shows where the balls pitched (trending toward short, good, or full lengths). Both charts can also show the results of these balls (dots, runs, boundaries, or wickets)
Scores and points
In most one day competitions based on leagues, 2 points are awarded for a win and 0 for a loss, regardless of the margin of victory.
In County Championship matches league points are awarded to teams not only for winning (scoring more runs overall) or drawing a game, but also for the number of runs scored or wickets taken in the first innings of the match. These extra batting and bowling points can make a difference to who becomes the champions at the end of the season.
In a series of Test matches, the winner is the team that wins the most matches. Test series can be drawn, with both sides having the same number of wins (since match draws are a distinct possibility with Test cricket; a series need not have all games on record coming to a decision). However, in the Ashes (the series played between England and Australia), the Ashes only change hands if the holder clearly loses; the Ashes remain with the current holder if the series is drawn.
The high scores in cricket compared with other sports such as rugby and football (soccer) has led to the use of the term cricket score to describe a very one-sided scoreline in those other games.
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