Like most Americans, we know as much about the intricacies of the game of cricket as we do quantum physics, but we can recognize a great play when we see it — especially if said play is made by someone in the stands.
Check this deep shot — we Americans would call it a home run, but I have no idea what its equivalent is in cricket — that's flying into the stands. The fan reaches up, snags the ball with one hand while carrying an armload of food, flings the ball back into the field of play, and keeps on walking as if this kind of thing happens every day. Man, you Australians are cool.
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Now, crowd-participation time. I understand the words the announcer is using, but they make absolutely no sense when put together in this order. Can someone with more knowledge of cricket explain the scoring, the lingo, the significance of this game ... pretty much everything here? Preferably in American terms, because we're selfish like that. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org, we'll throw a few good answers below ... and we'll all be happy as fat spiders.
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
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UPDATE: Thanks to all who wrote in with explanations of cricket for our poor dumb American eyes. Here are a couple of the best ones. First, Falucq Koshul gives us a rules run-down and compares it to baseball:
- Each team has a starting line-up of 11 players
- The batsmen are called batsmen (understandable), but who we call pitchers in baseball are called BOWLERS
- The game is played in an OVAL/CIRCLE field. There are no specific dimensions for the stadium, it all varies by which stadium and city you're in
- The place where the batsmen play is the PITCH.
- The sticks that you see set up behind the batsmen is the WICKET. It is made up of three STUMPS and two BAILS. The stumps are just three sticks pounded into the ground, with the bails resting on top of them, so they make this 'm' shape.
- On each side of the pitch there is a boundary or safe area (base) called the CREASE.
- While batting, the batsmen must stay inside the crease to avoid getting out, and while bowling the bowler must keep his foot behind the crease to avoid bowling a bad ball (foul)
- There are two types of foul balls that can be bowled (pitched). i) NO BALL- this is when the bowlers foot crosses the crease before the ball is released, ii) WIDE- the ball is bowled outside the designated area and a free run is given to the batting team
- What are known as innings in baseball are known as OVERS in cricket, during the match one team will play all of its overs before the other team gets a chance, unlike baseball where both teams come up to bat once in an inning. Each over consists of 6 balls (pitches)
- There are three formats of cricket, i) TEST- it has unlimited overs and can go on for as long as four days, ii) T20- each team gets 20 overs, on average this match takes 4-5 hours of play, iii) ODI- one day international, each team gets 50 overs and usually takes around 8 hours for the whole match. The format being shown in the video is an ODI.
- There are five ways to get a batsmen out, i) basic CATCH out ii) BOWLED out, this means hitting the stumps behind the batter and knocking the bails down iii) STUMP out, this is when the batter swings and misses so the ball goes to the keeper (catcher) who then catches the ball and knocks down the bails from the stump before the batter comes back into the crease (base) iv) LBW- leg before wicket, this means that when the bowler bowled, the ball hit the batsmen in the leg, below the knee. If the umpires believe that had the leg not been there, the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps and knock the bails down, it is given as an out v) RUN out- this means that both the batsmen tried to make a run but one of them did not reach his crease in time and the bails were knocked down.
- This is the scoring. Basically, a run is scored when both the batsmen cross the pitch and make it to the crease at other end. If the ball is hit and crosses the boundary of the field (we say home run) it can score 4 or 6 runs. It is 4 runs if the ball was on the ground when it crossed and 6 runs if it's in the air (like in the video). So in one ball (pitch) anywhere from 0-6 runs can be scored.
- So the match is played, following all these rules. The match starts with a coin toss, and it is decided which team will bowl first and which will bat. The team that is bowling is also fielding, so all 11 players are on the field. The team that is batting however, only has two batsmen on the pitch. The others are in the dugout. The team that is batting will have to make the highest score it can during the overs it is playing (depending on the format the number of overs is different, remember). The batting team must avoid getting all 10 outs (as compared to 3 in baseball). So once the first team has played and set a score, there is a break and then the teams switch on the field. Now the second team has to try and score one run more than the first team did, and they would win.
Simple, right? And here's Ashutosh Sharma to tell us why this particular play was so unbelievable:
"What the guy did though was simply amazing. That ball was traveling, and catching a ball like that is no fluke. The fact that he caught with his left hand while he appears to be right-handed makes it much more amazing. Very very cool indeed." More:
"In Cricket the ball and its age (no. of times its bowled) is a big factor in the game so spectators simply do not pocket it as souvenir.
"The game you were watching is a regular one-day international game (with each team bowling 50 overs and length of the game approximately 8 hours) between Australia and Sri Lanka (both of them very good teams). These are kind of friendly series which happens around the year between international teams with typically no association with a major tournament or a cup.
"Now coming to the shot - it added 6 runs to Australian total of 170 runs at the end of their innings, which was very low in this game from ODI standard and as expected with the total - they lost the game to SL who chased the target down in 40 overs."
And there you have it.