By Radhya Comar, December 1 2023—
Since October, the cricket world has been ablaze with the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. The tournament, which takes place every four years, is hosted by the International Cricket Council. Widely considered the flagship event of international cricket, the 2019 World Cup final attracted 2.6 billion viewers. This year, it is being hosted by India and has already led to some unforgettable moments. But first, what is cricket and how does it work?
Originally, the game was played informally in the English countryside. The game is widely accepted to have developed here in the 17th century. Even though cricket started gaining popularity across England during this time, the formal rules of cricket were not recorded until 1774. It was then introduced to North America, Africa, India and Australia through colonization. Despite having a stronghold in these regions for centuries, the rules of cricket are still widely misunderstood by most people.
Cricket is played in large circular stadiums. Most of the action happens in the middle of the dome, by the pitch. The pitch is a long strip of matted grass that is marked by wickets, or three wooden stumps, on either side. The game will begin with a coin toss between the two captains of the opposing sides. The captain who wins the toss decides whether he would like this team to bat or bowl first. The batting side will only have two players on the ground. One standing in front of the main wickets, and one on the other hand. The rest of the field is made up of the bowler, who bowls to the batsmen, and the fielders from the other side who are trying to restrain the movements of the other side.
In cricket, points are known as runs. The team with the most runs wins the game. There are many different ways to rack up runs. The most exciting for the viewers is by hitting a six or a four. This is when the batsmen either hits the boundary line and automatically receives four runs. Or, when the batsman hits the ball over the boundary without it touching the ground to immediately receive six runs. However, this requires immense power and awareness of the fielders. Further, batsmen are sent back to the pavilion if a fielder catches their ball without it touching the ground. On the other hand, batting for one or two runs is a much simpler and safer method. To do this, a batsmen would run from one side of the pitch to the other. The other batsmen, who is on the other side of the pitch, would do this as well. The amount of times both are able to run to opposite ends are added to the overall score as runs. Batsmen can usually only sustain this method for one or two runs. The only way to get a player out when they are batting this way is to strike them out. This means throwing the ball on the wicket before the batsmen have made their way back to their side of the pitch. Specifically, they must cross the white-chalked line called the crease with their bat.
The teams switch roles either when the batting team has run through their entire batting order or when all the overs have been completed. An over is made up of six balls that are bowled to the opposing team’s batsmen. Although there are multiple bowlers on a team, an over is allotted solely to one. In the current World Cup, there are 50 overs. This means that there are 300 balls that a team can bowl to the opposing side’s batsmen. However, throughout the course of this World Cup, many teams have not completed their allotted overs as all of their batsmen have been out. When this happens, the teams will switch sides. The second team to bat will have to try and score more runs than their counterparts.
Cricket games can go on for hours, which has led to some action-packed innings for fans. This year’s World Cup has led to some unforgettable moments. From global surprise due to poor performance from the defending champions of England to Glenn Maxwell’s legendary double century against Afghanistan, the 2023 ICC Men’s World Cup was definitely one for the books. The tournament concluded on Sunday, Nov. 19 with the Australian team lifting the silver and gold trophy.