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The result in a game of cricket may be a "win" for one of the two teams playing, a "draw" or a "tie". In the case of a limited overs game, the game can also end with "no result". Which of these results applies, and how the result is expressed, is governed by Law 16 of the laws of cricket.
Win and loss
The result of a match is a "win" when one side scores more runs than the opposing side and all the innings of the team that has fewer runs have been completed. The side scoring more runs has "won" the game, and the side scoring fewer has "lost". If the match ends without all the innings being completed, the result may be a draw or no result.
The result of a match is a "tie" when the scores are equal at the conclusion of play, but only if the side batting last has completed its innings (i.e. all innings are completed, or, in limited-overs cricket, the set number of overs has been played or play is terminally stopped by weather or bad light).
In some forms of one-day cricket, such as Twenty20, a Super Over or a bowl-out is used as a tiebreaker to decide a result that would otherwise be a tie. In such cases, the result of the match is recorded in official statistics as Tie+W or Tie+L to indicate matches tied and then won or lost in the tiebreaker.
The result of a match is a "draw" if a match is concluded, as defined in Law 16, without being a win or a tie. A draw therefore occurs when the one or both of the teams have not completed their innings by the scheduled end of play. In matches where the number of overs is not limited, therefore, a team unable to win may be able to 'save the draw' by either avoiding being all-out if they are batting (i.e. by having two or more batsmen left at the end of play who are 'not out'), or, if bowling, by slowing down the scoring of the batting team. The match is then drawn regardless of the total of runs accumulated by either side.
A "no result" is recorded if a limited over match which has been started cannot be complete, which usually occurs if weather or light interrupts play. The result is effectively the same as a draw.
Limited overs cricket formats require that each team has to have the opportunity bat for a minimum number of overs in order for a result to be possible: 20 overs in One Day International cricket and five overs in Twenty20 cricket.
If each team is able to face at least this number of overs, a result is possible and can be calculated using the Duckworth–Lewis method or other competition rules.
A match can be "abandoned" if weather or other conditions prevent any play from occurring at all. If the bowler of the first over of play has not started his/her runup when the officials decide to abandon play then the result is termed 'abandoned without a ball being bowled'. Such a game is not included in official statistical records.
Before July 2004, the same result occurred if the toss had been taken but the match was abandoned before a ball was bowled. Since 2004, the International Cricket Council for International matches has decreed that a match where the toss takes place but which is abandoned without a ball being bowled is either a draw or (for a limited-overs match) a no result. Such games are now included in statistical records, counting, for example, as a game played by the teams and nominated players.
The umpires also have the power to "award" a match to one side where the other side either concedes defeat or in the opinion of the umpires refuses to play, in which case the game can be deemed to have been forfeited by the side in question. (Note that this is not the same as the (voluntary) forfeiture of an innings under Law 15.) This power is very rarely used. Before this rule was introduced there had been cases in the international arena where one team has refused to play, or deliberately stopped playing for a while. One notable incident was when Sri Lanka temporarily stopped play against England when Muttiah Muralitharan was called for throwing by umpire Darrell Hair.
The only time that a Test match has been won in this manner is when umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove awarded England the Fourth Test against Pakistan on 20 August 2006 after Pakistan refused to take the field at the scheduled time after tea on the fourth day. This was because Hair alleged that Pakistani bowlers tampered with the ball. He did not name a player involved in the incident. Later during the ICC general body meeting in 2008, the result was changed to "match drawn", and then in February 2009 changed back to an England win.
Law 16 allows a team to concede a match. This seldom happens, but it covers the situation where the scoreboard has in good faith displayed an incorrect score which is accepted by the "losing" team, who leave the field, thereby conceding the match to the opposition.
Statement of result
The result of a cricket match is stated in several ways.
If the side batting last wins the match without losing all its wickets, the result shall be stated as a win by the number of wickets still then to fall. For example, in a single-innings match, if Team A bat first and make 200 runs, then Team B make 201 after losing four wickets out of ten, Team B is said to have "won by six wickets", regardless of how many batsmen Team A lost during their innings.
If the side fielding last wins the match, the result shall be stated as a win by runs. For instance, if Team A bat first and make 200 runs, but Team B make only 192, Team A is said to have "won by eight runs".
If the side batting last has lost all its wickets, but as the result of an award of 5 penalty runs at the end of the match has scored a total of runs in excess of the total scored by the opposing side, the result shall be stated as a win to that side by penalty runs.
In a two-innings match, if the number of runs scored in its first innings by the side due to bat last is greater than the total runs scored by the opposition in both its innings, the result is stated as a win by an innings and number of runs short. Here "due to bat last" includes a team who batted first, but forced their opponent to follow on. If Team A bat first and make 200 runs in their first innings, Team B make 300 runs in their first innings, and Team A only make 95 runs in their second innings, Team B is said to have "won by an innings and five runs".
If the match is decided by one side conceding defeat or refusing to play, the result shall be stated as "Match Conceded" or "Match Awarded".
If a match is unfinished when time expires, the result is a "draw" (this does not apply to limited overs cricket, where this is considered to be "no result"). If all innings of both teams are completed (either because all batsmen have been dismissed or one/more innings are completed by way of a declaration) and the totals are exactly equal, the match is a "tie".
- "Law 16 – The result". MCC. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
- "Toss to signify start of a match". Rediff.com. 9 July 2004. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- "Cricket: England awarded Oval Test 'win' against Pakistan". The Guardian. 1 February 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2018.