Just not cricket

One-day matches: brilliant. They really are a good way to watch cricket, especially for me, now that I’m so time-poor. Don’t get me wrong; I love test matches as well. They’re a much more tactical and subtle form of the game that I appreciate much more in my maturity. When you’re young, you want things to be big, fast, loud or don’t bother but as you get a bit older you come to appreciate the shades of grey inherent in all things (despite politicians’ best efforts to polarise just about everything).

So as I was saying, love test cricket with all its tactical declarations; and love one-day matches for all their slogging and excitement. What I don’t get though is the way news readers report a win in a one-day match. Now in a test match, you can win by runs (if you bowl last and get the other team all out before they catch up) or you can win by wickets (if you bat last and reach the other team’s total before you all go out). If you run out of time before either of these things happen, it’s a draw.

In one day matches, the number of overs is not analogous to the time factor in test cricket. It becomes a variable which can decide the game so if you’re chasing a total and run out of overs, you lose. When this happens, you lose by the number of runs by which you fell short of the opposing team’s score. When the situation is reversed though, and you reach the opposition’s score and make one run extra (to put you in front) you win by…

What do you win by? Is it wickets or is it overs (balls)?

Both Channel Seven news and The Advertiser reported this morning that NZ won last night’s match by four wickets. Makes it sound like they had an easy win, no? They could have lost another four batsmen before losing the match. But when you read on the ABC that they passed Australia’s score with only 2 balls to spare, it puts the closeness of the game in a whole new light. It was really fucking close! In one-day matches (or, as they’re sometimes called, limited-overs matches) the number of overs is limited and this variable can decide who wins.

So can we get our act together please? You either win by runs or wickets (in a test) and overs (in a one-day). It’s not that difficult.

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