How to Understand Cricket Scores in a Simple Way?

How to Understand Cricket Scores in a Simple Way?

Understand Cricket Scores

Believe it or not, it is not rocket science when one has to understand cricket scores. Albeit, the gritty gentlemen’s game may come across as somber. However, truthfully speaking, the sport is quite exhilarating and involves powerful gameplay. On face value cricket may seem complex and that is why we are here. If one finds themselves struggling to understand cricket scores, we are at their service!


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Beginning to Understand Cricket Scores

To understand cricket scores one must start from the basics. Grasping a clear understanding of how the game works may clarify the scoring pattern and the winning algorithms of the match. Cricket team captains carefully calculate their strategies to score, defend or counterattack when necessary. At the end of the day, it is all about the score on the board and which gifted all-round victor enjoys the spoil. So, without further ado, let’s jump right to it!

1.     Understand Cricket Scores by Running

The scoring pattern of this game depends on the number of runs a batsman can score. Thus, bagging a hefty sum of runs will boost the team’s chances of winning. To understand how cricket scoring works, it’s important to know that scores are expressed in runs. The simplest way to score in cricket is by hitting the ball and running from one end of the pitch to the other. If the batsman successfully reaches the other end of the pitch, they and their team are awarded one run.

Batsmen can try to score more than one run per ball. However, they must have covered the entire pitch length before the fielding side breaks the stumps with the ball, otherwise, they are considered “run out”. We will cover the concept of wickets and explain what “run out” means in detail below.

How to Understand Cricket Scores in a Simple Way?
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What is a Six or a Four in Cricket?

By physically completing a specific set of runs, batsmen can be awarded four or six by hitting what are known as boundaries. When the batsman hits the ball beyond the edge of the playing field, a boundary is scored. Four runs are awarded if the ball bounces before exiting the field and six are awarded if the ball crosses the boundary without bouncing.

Fun Fact: In an attempt to stop the ball from going beyond the edge, if the ball touches the fielder and bounces outside the boundary of the field, the batsman will secure a “four.”

2.     Defining Wickets

It is important to highlight that wickets are just as crucial as runs and to understand cricket scores, we must ponder upon the stumps. A team’s score in cricket is determined by the number of runs they collect for the number of wickets they lose. For instance, if a team scores 100 runs and loses three wickets, their score would be written as 100 – 3 or 100 for three. In cricket, the fielding team can take a batsman’s wicket in different ways and the batsmen must protect the wicket at all costs.

Once a batsman loses their wicket, they must leave the field and be replaced by another member of the team. Since there are 11 members in each cricket team, and there must always be two batsmen in the middle at any given time, once a side has lost ten wickets, they are “all out”, and their turn batting, referred to as an inning, is over.

Collecting Wickets

How a batsman can be dismissed in cricket can be split into two categories. The first category includes the most common forms of dismissal, which are bowled, caught, stumped, LBW and run out. The second category includes less common forms of dismissal, which are hitting the ball twice, handling the ball, obstructing the field, timed out and hitting the wicket. To understand cricket scores, one must have a thorough grasp of how batsmen lose their wickets, and we are hoping this read will be beneficial for you so let’s carry on.

Understand Cricket Scores
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First Category

Let’s take a closer look at each form of dismissal. A batsman is out-bowled when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails. Caught is when a fielder catches the ball without it touching the ground. Stumped is when the wicketkeeper breaks the stumps with the ball in hand while the batsman is out of the crease. Run-out occurs when a fielder breaks the stumps at the other end of the pitch before the batsman reaches the crease at that end. LBW stands for Leg Before Wicket. It is given when a batsman prevents a ball from hitting the stumps with their leg instead of their bat.

Second Category

Hit the ball twice is when a batsman hits the ball twice with their bat. Handling the ball is when a batsman touches the ball with their hand while it is in play. Obstructing the field is when a batsman intentionally obstructs a fielder. Timed out is when a batsman takes too long to arrive at the pitch when it is their turn to bat. A hit wicket is when a batsman accidentally breaks their stumps with their bat or body.

Here’s a summary:

First Category
(Common Forms of Dismissals of Batsmen)

Second Category
(Rare Forms of Dismissals of Batsmen)


Hit the ball twice
Caught Handled the ball
Stumped Obstructing the field
LBW Timed out
Run Out Hitting the wicket


3.     Different Format = Different Game Length

Cricket is a versatile sport which brings many exciting formats of gameplay which keeps its fans somewhat satisfied yet hungry for more. Different cricket games have distinct game lengths which allow the team to channel their energies and focus on a strategy to win. Indeed, playing with strategy is key when it comes to this game.

For example, if a game has 20 overs (1 over = 6 balls), the team must aim to score as high as they can. The team must score as many runs as possible, within the balls allotted for the game. Once the 20 overs are complete, the sides will switch. The common practice is to opt to bat second and to chase the score the opposing team has reached. This will grant a substantial chance of winning if the batsmen are pushing ferociously to bag as many runs as they can.

In another scenario, the batting side might have 10 outs (wickets) before the overs are complete. Ultimately, the sides will switch and the other team will start playing. Under such circumstances, whichever team has scored the maximum number of runs is entitled to a win.


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4.     Understand Cricket Scores with Extras

Above we have covered the basics of how the scoring system of the game works, however, there are a few other ways in which a team can bag more runs and ultimately increase their score. These surplus methods of adding runs are commonly known as ‘extras’. Let’s have a look!





Leg Byes


There are four main types of extras in cricket, which are known as ‘wides’, ‘no balls’, ‘byes’, and ‘leg byes’.

A run is awarded for a wide. A wide is a delivery that passes too far from the batsman for him to hit it with a reasonable attempt at a cricket shot. For a no-ball, which is an illegal delivery from the bowler, either one or two runs (depending on the competition) are awarded. A delivery is usually considered a no-ball if the bowler bowls from the wrong place. In other instances, if his fielders are illegally placed the umpire may grant a no-ball.

How to Understand Cricket Scores in a Simple Way?
Image source: Pixabay

When a batsman is unable to hit the ball thrown at them, they are still allowed to attempt runs. If they successfully complete the runs, or if the ball reaches the boundary without being hit, the team’s score will be increased by the relevant number of runs. These runs are known as ‘byes’ and are added to the team total, not to the individual batsman’s score.

“Leg byes” are similar to runs scored by the batsman, but they are awarded when the ball hits any part of the batsman’s body instead of the bat. However, for the “leg byes” to be awarded, the batsman must have tried to hit the ball and not just allowed it to hit his body.

5.     Penalty Runs

To understand cricket scores, one must venture through all the ways in which a team can score runs for themselves. As we have preconceived, scoring runs is crucial for a big win. Thus, penalties come into play and can grant a chance of bagging a run.

Penalty runs can be added to the batting team’s score due to various rule infringements by the fielding side. These are generally awarded in multiples of five. Penalty runs are most commonly added when the bowling side takes too much time to complete their overs, when the ball hits a fielder’s helmet, or when the fielding side tampers with the ball.

6.     Understand Cricket Scores Through the Umpire

The Umpire is a cricket game official who is responsible for making important decisions on the field hence, he must stay utterly unbiased throughout the match. Traditionally, the game has 2 umpires but as technology is flourishing, the game now has a third umpire or an ‘off-field umpire’. The off-field umpire monitors the match and makes decisions with the help of various technologies.

Two umpires on the field are in charge of different positions on the pitch. One umpire stands behind the stumps, by the bowler’s end while the other umpire monitors the square leg. If reading cricket scores seems hard, imagine how difficult the job of these umpires can be!

Responsibilities of an Umpire

The umpire has many responsibilities. He is given the tasks of making decisions on whether a no-ball must be granted or not. For instance, where a bye may be conferred, and the boundaries of the pitch. These decisions are important. They will allow an opportunity to score more runs which will evidently lead to a victory. After each over, the umpires will switch positions on the cricket field to ensure fairness and to avert biases. Moreover, in instances where players challenge a decision of the umpire, the umpires occasionally hold the responsibility of operating the Umpire Decision Review System to address this issue.

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Understand Cricket Scores
Image source: Pixabay

Were We Helpful?

To understand cricket scores, one must just dive into the game. Watch a match or two and observe how the game is being played. Cricket is a classic gentlemen’s game which has evolved beautifully through time. With new formats emerging every now and then, fans of the game are always ready to experience the latest developments in the sport. Thus, we are hoping that maybe we were able to spike your interest in the game as well. For now, our job here is done. Until next time!


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Zahra Batool is a lawyer who frequently indulges in her hidden pleasures of writing. A research fanatic with a knack for words, you might often find her on a Google search spree. Words never failed her and she never failed them.

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