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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 21 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).
This is unusual, and in the history of Test cricket has happened only twice:
- West Indies (453 & 284) tied with Australia (505 & 232) in 1960.
- Australia (574-7d & 170-5d) tied with India (397 & 347) in 1986.
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. This means that a draw occurs when a team does not complete its 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 managing to not complete its final innings (i.e. by having two or more batsmen left at the end of play who are 'not out'). The match is then drawn regardless of the total of runs accumulated by either side.
A "no result" is effectively the same as a draw, but in a limited overs match. In such matches, a team that is behind cannot secure a draw as above; if they have scored fewer runs, they have lost the game. A no result, therefore, occurs only when weather conditions stop play before the second team have batted enough overs to have a recalculated target under the Duckworth-Lewis method or other rain rules. In One Day International cricket, one team needs to have faced fewer than 20 overs (of the allotted 50 for a match) for a match to be a no result. In Twenty20, the threshold is 5 overs of the allotted 20.
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 14.) 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 to date 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 21 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
||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (April 2015)|
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 example: 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".
- Note: 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.
- For example – 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).
- 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".