How long is a cricket match? Match duration, facts and all the details

How long is a cricket match? Match duration, facts and all the details

Kenneth Mwenda
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:12 PM

How long a cricket match is depends on many factors and aspects as the game uses various formats. The current international formats played are Test Matches, One-day International (ODI), & Twenty20 International (T20I). So we must comprehend how long the game will last in connection to its structure.

How long is a cricket match?
Scotland's Calum MacLeod (left) tries to bowl out Steven Smith. Photo:Jeff Holmes
Source: Getty Images

This article highlights the period of a cricket match. It also gives an overview of some of the game's fundamentals and the formats in which it is played. The sport has become one of the most lucrative in the world, raking in billions of dollars.

How is the cricket game played?

How long does a cricket match last?
Tom Westley of Essex hits out during the County Championship match between Northamptonshire and Essex at The County Ground in Northampton, England. Photo: Andy Kearns.
Source: Getty Images

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In this game, two 11-person teams alternately take turns batting and scoring runs while the other team bowls and fields the ball to prevent the opponent from scoring. In cricket, scoring as many runs as possible against the opposition is the primary goal. The captains of both sides will toss a coin before the game, and whoever wins will get to choose which team will bat and field first.

Each innings in a match lasts for a certain amount, usually one or two. The number of innings each team will have is decided before the match. One team bats the ball while the other tries to field during an inning. Both teams take turns alternating between batting and fielding.

An overview of a cricket pitch

How does a cricket pitch look like?
Aerial view of pitches at a cricket field. Photo: Richard Newstead
Source: Getty Images

The game is on an oval cricket field with a rectangular pitch with a border, which might be a fence, ropes, or lines, delineating the field's perimeter. Additionally, two wooden targets called the wickets are positioned roughly 20 metres apart on either end of the rectangular ground. The wicket is made out of three stumps, supporting two bails that sit on the stumps.

The pitch has two lines, namely the bowling crease and batting crease, each placed in line to the wicket and about 1.2 metres in front of the wicket, respectively, and they determine the space that the batter and bowler can use. Only two batting team members may be on the field while the game is in progress; however, all 11 members of the fielding team must be present.

The cricket players

The bowler is a player chosen from the fielding squad; the other nine players are known as fielders. The wicketkeeper is the fielder positioned behind the wicket to catch any balls that might miss the wicket while the bowler attempts to hit it with the ball.

The opposing team's batsman will try to hit the bowled ball before it strikes the wicket. Once the batsman has struck the ball, the remaining fielders must go after it. The batsman's job is to bat the ball away to stop it from hitting the wicket. Additionally, after a ball is struck, both batsmen must run as many times as they can from their respective wickets to the other in order to score a run.

How long is a cricket match?

How long is cricket match T20?
Linsey Smith of Northern Diamonds bats watched by Chloe Hill of Southern Vipers during the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy Final at Lord's Cricket Ground in London, England. Photo: Philip Brown.
Source: Getty Images

England had the earliest clearly defined proof of the game's existence; first appeared in 1597. The game has been played for more than 400 years.

Regarding how long the match lasts, the game usually lasts for about 7 hours and 30 minutes each day and the matches are played over five days. However, if the required amount of overs is not bowled on a given day or if a result on the final day's play is possible, the play may be extended for 30 minutes.

What is a test match in cricket?

There are typically five days available for the duration of a Test Cricket match between two sides. Only teams with formal test status are allowed to compete. The game's main objective is to score as many runs as possible throughout each side's two innings of play.

The goal is to score more runs than the opposition, although test cricket differs from limited-overs formats in this regard. According to the regulations of test cricket, if the team batting last surpasses the opponent's score without losing all 10 of their wickets, they win the game.

How long is a game of cricket?
Young male wicketkeeper catching the ball on the field. Photo: Simonkr
Source: Getty Images

The bowling team will win if they capture all ten of those wickets before the target is met. However, the game is deemed a draw if the target is not met and there are still standing wickets when play is through.

How long does One-day International (ODI) last?

An ODI has two 50-over innings with a 45-minute break between them. Ideally, an inning should be finished in less than 3.5 hours of play. The second innings should only begin if the first innings are completed at least 30 minutes before the allocated time.

Only a ten-minute break will be allowed between the first and second innings if the first one is finished at least 30 minutes early; otherwise, the interval will be taken as scheduled between the second and third innings. The time between two innings can be shortened depending on how much time is lost in the early innings by the plat.

The interval will be cut in half if the lost time is less than 60 minutes, to 30 minutes, and between 60 and 120 minutes, to 20 minutes. If the missing time is more than two hours, the interval will only be 10 minutes long.

A match's outcome may be dependent on interruptions due to weather, technical difficulties and slow overrate. However, an ideal ODI should take no more than 7 hours and 45 minutes.

How long is a cricket match T20?

How long does One-day International (ODI) last?
Katie Mack of the ACT Meteors bats during the WNCL match between Western Australia and Australian Capital Territory at the WACA, on September 25, 2022, in Perth, Australia. Photo: Paul Kane.
Source: Getty Images

In T20, the restriction for each side is 20 overs per innings, with one inning allotted to each team. With a break in between, a match should last about three hours. Each inning lasts about 80 minutes, or an hour and 20 minutes.

Although efforts have been taken to try and prevent games from going too long, with players facing fines and punishments if they exceed, some games can go longer, especially if it's a close match.

It used to be the shortest format in the professional game until this year when The Hundred made its debut. Powerplays, free hits, and super overs are just a few of the regulations that have helped T20 become one of, if not the most, popular forms of cricket worldwide.

Powerplays in a cricket game

How long is the cricket match T20?
Matthew Wade takes the catch to dismiss KL Rahul during game three of the T20 International series at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, India. Photo: Pankaj Nangia.
Source: Getty Images

The first six overs of an inning and the final 14 overs are where powerplays are allowed. A maximum of two fielders are permitted outside a 30-yard fielding circle during the first six overs of an inning, providing batsmen extra opportunities to try for big hits early in the game. Five fielders at most are permitted outside the 30-yard circle once the first six overs are completed.

A maximum of five fielders are permitted on the leg-side at any given time during the game in addition to those two rules. Any side that is discovered to have too many players outside the circle at any time will be penalized, and the umpire will signal a no-ball and give the other team a free hit.

What are free hits in a cricket game?

How long is a game of cricket?
Male batsman hitting ball on cricket pitch while wicketkeeper standing behind stumps. Photo: simonkr
Source: Getty Images

In limited overs cricket, when a no-ball is bowled, the batting side is given a free hit, which, as the name implies. It allows the batsman to attempt any shot they choose without getting out, even if they are bowled.

A batsman can still be run out on a free hit, in addition to being out for striking the ball twice or blocking the field, which are other exceptions to the rule. No-balls can be given out in all the typical circumstances, including when the bowler crosses the boundary, when the ball is pitched above the batsman's waist, and, of course, when there are too many fielders outside the ring.

If the batsmen switch before the free-hit, the fielding side's captain may change it; if the same batsman is on strike, the field must stay the same.

Longest cricket match

The longest test match in cricket history lasted nine days and 680 bowled overs. However, the South African and English sides persevered, and the game was dubbed "The Timeless Test."

Can there be a tie in a cricket game?

In the past, if both teams had the same number of runs at the end of both innings in a restricted overs game, it would result in a tie. But now that super-overs are in place, there is always a winner. The super over is a one-over elimination round in which each team receives six legal deliveries to score as many runs as possible; the winner is the team with the most runs.

How long is a cricket match?
Shan Masood of Pakistan celebrates running out Reece Topley of England with Haris Rauf to win the game at Karachi National Stadium on September 25, 2022 in Karachi, Pakistan. Photo:Alex Davidson.
Source: Getty Images

We have exhaustively covered all the important fields as far as the cricket game is concerned. We have also immensely researched what is essential and crucial for the reader to know about the game. The article goes on to portray the cricket game as one of the most hilarious and exciting games, especially when conversant with the rules of the game, either being a fan or a payer.

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Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.