Run out

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Run out is a method of dismissal in cricket, governed by Law 38 of the laws of cricket. A run out usually occurs when the batters are attempting to run between the wickets, and the fielding team succeed in getting the ball to one of the wickets before a batter has crossed the crease line near the wicket. If the batter is judged run out, the run does not count and the bowler does not get credit for the wicket.

A run out can also be effected when the batters are not attempting a run if one of them leaves the crease when the ball is not dead. Some such dismissals cause controversy because they challenge long-established -but not universal- conventions about the spirit of the game.


A batter is out run out if, at any time while the ball is in play, no part of his/her bat or person is grounded behind the popping crease and his/her wicket is fairly broken by the action of a fielder.[1] The batter whose ground is at the end where the wicket is broken is out.[2]

A batter can be run out even when not attempting a run if he/she is out of his/her crease and the wicket is put down by a fielder. For example, the striker is run out if the batter plays the ball which is collected by a close fielder and the wicket is broken when the striker has left his/her ground to play the ball.

If a batter has a runner, the batter must also stay in the crease when the ball is in play, and the batter can be run out if he/she or his/her runner is out of the crease when the wicket is broken.


A batter may be run out whether or not a run is being attempted, even if the delivery is declared a no-ball or a wide except for the following circumstances:[1]

  • A batter has been within the popping crease and has subsequently left it to avoid injury, when the wicket is put down.
  • The ball bowled by the bowler has not made any contact with a fielder before the wicket is put down.
  • A batter is given out stumped.
  • A no-ball has been called, no attempt to run is made by the batter, and the wicket is put down by the wicket-keeper without another fielder's intervention. This prevents what would be a stumping — were it not called a no-ball — being ruled a run out instead.

Non-striker leaving his/her ground early[edit]

As a bowler enters his/her delivery stride, the non-striking batter might back up, meaning he/she leaves his/her popping crease early and moves towards the other end of the wicket, so that, if the batters attempt a run, that run can be completed quickly. If, at any time from the moment the ball comes into play (i.e. when the bowler starts their run-up) until the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the non-striker is out of his/her ground, they can be run out.

While a generous bowler may warn a batter to stay in their crease rather than to take their wicket, it is not required by the laws of cricket nor the guidance notes by MCC on the spirit of cricket to do so. It is a legitimate mode of dismissal and the International Cricket Council (ICC) playing conditions match MCC Law.[3]

News report of Bill Brown's runout

One of the earliest recorded examples came in a match between Eton and Harrow in 1850, when Harrow's Charles Austen-Leigh was run out "backing up" by Eton bowler William Prest.[4] The most notable example of this method of dismissal involved the Indian bowler Vinoo Mankad who ran out Bill Brown on 13 December 1947 in the second test during India's tour of Australia at Sydney. Mankad when, in the act of delivering the ball, he held on to it and removed the bails with Brown well out of his crease. Since this incident, a batter dismissed in this fashion was informally said to have been "Mankaded".[5]

Until 2022 this mode of dismissal was part of Law 41-Unfair play.[6] but is now wholly within Law 38 (Run Out).[7] Some observers feel that dismissing a batter in this way is poor sporting etiquette and against the spirit of the game, while others believe that the laws and regulations exist to be used as a structure of the game and that it is legitimate and sporting to exercise them.[8][9] Such dismissals have on occasion provoked debate.[10][11] In July 2014, when England's Jos Buttler was run out by Sri Lanka's Sachithra Senanayake, the World Cricket Council, an independent consultative body of former international captains and umpires, unanimously expressed support of Sri Lanka's actions.[12] In contrast, in March 2019, when Buttler was dismissed in the same way by Ravichandran Ashwin in the 2019 Indian Premier League, an MCC spokesman said that while the mode of dismissal is legitimate, this particular dismissal was not in the "spirit of the game" because of the timing of the breaking of the wicket, a judgement that is now explicit in the Law.[13][14][15]

Runs scored[edit]

If either batter is run out, the run in progress when the wicket is put down is not counted. Any runs completed will be counted, together with any runs for penalties awarded to either side.[16]

If the striker has a runner and is themself run out (which would be at the striker's end), then no runs count and the umpire returns the non-striker to the original (non-striking) end. If the striker's runner, a non-striker's runner, or the non-striker themselves, is run out, runs completed will be counted.


The bowler does not get credit for the wicket. Credit is given to the "primary" fielder who gathers the ball and either puts down the wicket or makes the ball available for another player to do so, and any other "assistant" fielders who touch the ball, including a player who ultimately puts down the wicket, But if the bowler bowls and is the primary fielder to break the bails and no assistant feilder has intervened the credit is ultimately given to the bowler.[17]

Ball in play[edit]

The batter can be run out if the ball is in play (i.e not 'dead'). They may intentionally leave the crease not attempting a run, for example to talk to the non-striker or to pat the pitch. They can do this because of the customary understanding with the fielding team that the ball is considered dead at that time. If that understanding breaks down, a fielder might put down the wicket. As ever, the fielding team must appeal for any dismissal to occur, and the fielding captain will withdraw the appeal if they view it to be unwarranted by the spirit of the game, which will depend on judgement of custom, practice and circumstance. But if an appeal is made, the umpire must give the batter out unless they consider that a dead ball pertained.

There have been instances, such as a Test match in 2006, when Muttiah Muralitharan left his crease to congratulate Kumar Sangakkara on completing his century, and was run out by Brendon McCullum.[18] McCullum subsequently stated that he regretted that his actions were not within the spirit of the game.[19]

In a contrasting incident in a Test match against India in 2011, Ian Bell was initially given run out after leaving his crease, wrongly assuming his shot had reached the boundary, but the appeal was later withdrawn by the fielding captain MS Dhoni and Bell was allowed to resume his innings.[20] The essential distinction of this incident is that the ball is automatically dead when it reaches the boundary (interpretation by the umpire is not required), and so Bell left his crease under a misapprehension that may have been reinforced by the actions of some of the fielding team, who were under the same misapprehension. An intention to deceive the batter is explicitly unfair and would itself cause the ball to become adjudged dead by the umpire, but otherwise a batter is still run out on appeal if they are out of their ground wrongly believing the ball to have become automatically dead.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Law 38 – Run out". MCC. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  2. ^ "Law 30 – Batsman out of his/her ground". MCC. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  3. ^ "Standard Test match playing conditions" (PDF). International Cricket Council. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  4. ^ "Wisden - Obituaries in 1924". ESPNcricinfo. 2 December 2005. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Two legends make their entrance". ESPNcricinfo. 13 November 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Law 41 - Unfair play". MCC. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  7. ^ "MCC announces new Code of Laws from 1 October 2022". MCC. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  8. ^ Tomarchio, Cameron (3 February 2016). "What Don Bradman said about Mankading". News. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  9. ^ "On Mankading and the problem with chivalry". Telegraph India. 9 September 2020. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  10. ^ Harmison, Steve (4 June 2014). "Jos Buttler run-out defended by Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews". BBC. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Mankading incident turns close finish controversial". ESPNcricinfo. 18 October 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  12. ^ "World Cricket Committee Running out the non-striker: Law is clear and the act is not against the Spirit of Cricket". MCC. 18 August 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  13. ^ "Jos Buttler: 'Mankad' dismissal not 'in the spirit of the game' - MCC". BBC Sport. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Buttler's controversial 'Mankad' run out – best of the reaction". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Jos Buttler 'Mankad' dismissal: Law is 'essential' says MCC". BBC Sport. 26 March 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2023.
  16. ^ "Law 18 – Scoring runs". MCC. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
  17. ^ "Differentiating Primary and Assistant Fielders when Scoring a Wicket". England and Wales Cricket Board. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  18. ^ "No regrets on controversial Muralitharan run out - Fleming". Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  19. ^ "'Cricket was meant to be a game, not a life or death struggle'". Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  20. ^ "Dhoni wins Spirit of Cricket award". Retrieved 12 March 2022.