Scoring is the basic component of all sports. Cricket scoring is relatively similar to baseball in that runs are what is scored, and runs are scored by ... running.


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Watch a compilation of big "sixes," basically the equivalent of baseball home runs, here.

The biggest difference in scoring runs in cricket when compared with baseball is that cricket has two batsmen or runners at a time, never more, never less. This means that the equivalent of a home run and a grand slam have to be different as there are no runners to be batted in. Instead, cricket has "boundaries": fours and sixes. Four runs are scored when a batsman hits a ball into the field's boundary on the ground. Six runs are scored when a batsman hits a ball over the boundary in the air.

The two-batsmen scenario also means that though only one man is batting, to score runs, two men are running, and the field layout limits where they can run. In order to score runs, the two batsmen run "between the wickets," effectively switching sides of the pitch. A batsman will touch his bat — or, less often, his body — behind the popping crease to put himself in a safe zone equivalent to being on a base in baseball.

Each time the batsmen safely switch places, a run is scored. So switching places once is a single. If the two batsmen then switch back, it's a double. The two batsmen may run back and forth as many times as they can without getting out. These runs are added to the score of the batsman who hit the ball, not the one who is simply running, and of course to the team score as well.

When a batsman reaches 50 runs, it is a landmark, sometimes called a half-century. When a batsman reaches 100 runs, it is known as a century or a ton.

The two batsmen also switch places at the end of an over, so that the batsman who was "on strike" (batting) at the end of one over is not on strike (just running) at the start of the next.

Watch a video designed for Americans that explains how cricket runs are scored.


A team may also score runs through "extras," which are errors. These include byes, leg byes, penalties, wides and no-balls.

A "bye" is scored when batsmen get runs even though a ball does not touch the batsman or his bat; usually this means it occurs from an error by the wicketkeeper.

"Leg byes" are runs taken when the ball hits the batsman's body rather than bat, though the "Leg Before the Wicket" rule means this can't happen when the ball is headed for the wicket to get a batsman out.

"Penalties" are exactly what they sound like.

"Wides" and "no-balls" are taken from errors by the bowler. A wide occurs when a delivery passes illegally wide of the batsman's area. Thus, it is roughly similar to a "ball" in baseball. If a wide occurs, more deliveries must be bowled to make the six deliveries in an over. A no-ball is an illegal delivery, usually because of the bowler overstepping the crease.

About this site

If you're an American looking to understand the sport cricket (sometimes called baseball's lost twin), this is the website for you. From a fellow American who was once as confused as you are, you can learn the sport's basics, terminology, relation to baseball and a brief history.

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