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Malahide Cricket Club

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It is often said that cricket is a simple sport complicated by language. Indeed, cricket does have a large and varied vocabulary, but when you strip that away, the game has quite a simple objective.

Most runs wins.

Now, in the following sections we dig a bit deeper into the laws of cricket and try to explain the basics of the game.

However, first start with this short video...

Let's recap - the basics

For outsiders, cricket may look complex with much confusing jargon used. However, the game at its core has a simple objective - most runs wins. Keep that in mind as you read on (you can download a quick guide to 'the basics' here).

  • Cricket is a team sport played by two competing sides (usually) of 11 players each. However, in truth, you can play cricket almost anywhere and even 1:1 if you want!
  • If you play club cricket, you will usually play at a cricket ground. A cricket ground is a large expanse of flat grass, quite often circular or oval in shape and surrounded by a boundary marker.
  • The pitch (or the strip of gradd or artificial turf you bowl and bat on) is situated in the middle of the field.
  • A coin toss decides the order in which the teams bat and bowl, with the captain that wins the toss choosing which their side will do first.
  • Both teams take turns batting and fielding.
  • Players on the batting side bat in pairs, with one situated at each end of the pitch (the standard accepted length of a pitch is 22 yards).
  • At each end of pitch stands thr stumps, which are three upright wooden posts placed side by side in the ground, with two smaller sticks laid horizontally on top of the posts called bails to form the wicket.
  • Players on the batting side score runs by running between the wickets.
  • Teams bat until they’ve either completed their allocated overs or ten of their batsmen have been dismissed by the fielding side.
  • An over consists of six balls (deliveries) by a bowler from the fielding team.
  • The team with the highest number of runs at the end wins!

Of course, the best way to restrict your opponents score is to get their batters out. Here are a number of ways to be dismissed by the fielding team. Some might be familiar – others not so much:

  • Caught
  • Bowled
  • Leg before wicket (lbw)
  • Run out
  • Stumped
  • Hit wicket
  • Handling the ball
  • Hitting the ball twice
  • Obstructing the field
  • Timed out


Different formats of the game

The sport of cricket has a number of different formats - over the years, in fact, three formats of cricket have emerged that are played at international level – Test matches, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals.

These matches are played under the rules and regulations approved by the International Cricket Council.

Having multiple formats of a sport is not unusual (think 15-a-side Rugby v Rugby 7s, for example). But, for the new to the sport, an analogy would be running - Test Matches being a marathon, ODIs being the 800m, and T20Is being the 100m. 

Test Matches
  • Test cricket is the traditional form of the game, which has been played since 1877. It is generally played across five-days where each team is given two innings per match, and the winner is determined by which team has successfully chased down a runs total or dismissed their opposition before the end of the fifth day after the four innings. 
  • It is considered the pinnacle form because it tests teams over a longer period of time. Teams need to exhibit endurance, technique and temperament in different conditions to do well in this format.
  • Both teams wear white clothes and a red ball is used.
  • There are 12 ICC Members with Test Match status, which means they also enjoy ODI and T20I status, following the inclusion of Afghanistan and Ireland in June 2017.
One-Day Internationals
  • One-Day Internationals, also known as ODIs, are a faster format. 
  • Unlike a test match which can last up to five days, a one-day match takes place over a day's play, hence the name. 
  • Whichever team bats first is required to post a score in up to 50 overs and then the other team is tasked to chase down that total within 50 overs.
  • Both teams wear coloured clothes and a white ball is used.
  • The ICC’s pinnacle event, the ICC Cricket World Cup, is contested every four years in this format.
  • A further four countries (on the 12 Full Members) have ODI status, which means there are 16 ICC Members with ODI status.
Twenty20 Internationals
  • Twenty20 Internationals - or T20Is - are the newest, shortest and fastest form of the game.
  • A T20I match is even shorter than a one-day match, but the rules are similar. 
  • The team which bats first is once again required to post a score, but in this particular format it has to be done within 20 overs instead of 50. The opposing side then has to chase down that score before they are all dismissed at the crease or at the end of the 20 over limit.
  • Both teams wear coloured clothes and a white ball is used.
  • A T20I match is usually competed in three hours and with huge hitting, skillful bowling and amazing fielding it has been hugely popular with fans right around the world. 
  • All 104 member nations of the ICC have been granted T20I status.

Find your nearest cricket club

Interested in joining a local club or finding a cricket programme you or your child can try?

Go here for our club finder.


What cricket equipment do you need?

If you’re looking to play hard-ball cricket, equipment such as bats, balls, helmets and pads are available increasingly in sports shops across Ireland. Every local club or Provincial Union will be able to advise you on the best options for purchasing equipment.

If you’re playing a casual game of soft-ball cricket, all you need is comfortable clothing, energy and enthusiasm!