The origins of cricket date as far back as 16th century England. Nowadays, cricket is played around the world. Cricket features two teams of 11 players. Equipment includes a ball, bat, protective padding and two wooden wickets that are made of stumps and bails. While the game plays similarly to baseball, there are many aspects of cricket that differentiate it from other sports.
A cricket field features numerous components. The entire field is a circle or oval shape. While no set diameter is in place, typical fields stretch about 130-220 yards wide. The wicket, a rectangular strip in the center of the cricket field, measures 10 yards wide and 22 yards long. At each end of the wicket, a set of three wooden stumps stand close enough to not allow a cricket ball to fit through. Two smaller wooden sticks, called bails, are on top of the stumps. A batting crease lies in front of each stump where the batters stand while hitting.
Starting the Game
One team begins as the hitting team while the 11 players of the other team play defense in the field. Two members of the offense enter the wicket, one at each set of stumps. Only one has a bat, and he stands facing the bowler, the player on defense who will pitch the ball to the hitter. One defender, the wicket-keeper, stands behind the hitter to catch the pitch. All other defenders spread across the outfield, even standing behind the hitter, as any batted ball is in play, regardless of where it goes.
When a batter hits the ball, he and his running teammate begin running to the opposite batting crease. If both runners reach the opposite crease without being retired, a run is tallied for the offensive team. If a player hits the ball to the field's boundary line, he is credited with four runs and doesn't have to run. If his hit clears the boundary line on the fly --- think of a home run in baseball -- he gets six runs. The goal, just as in baseball, is to score the most runs. For every inning played, each team gets to hit. The number of innings played varies and should be determined before the match. The team with the most runs at the end of the game is the winner.
The goal of the defensive team is to get the batters out, and this can be done in a variety of ways. If the bowler knocks down the wicket behind the batter with a pitch, the batter is out. The hitter is also out if his batted ball is caught by the defensive player without touching the ground. If a batter hits the ball and is attempting to run to the opposite crease, a defender can get the runner out if he hits the wooden wicket the runner is headed for. Additionally, a batter is out if he touches the ball deliberately with his hand or bat after he has already hit the ball into play.
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