Sunday, March 18, 2012

Powerplay Rule in Cricket

Nowadays, when you check the scoreline for an ODI match, shown mostly at the bottom of TV screen, you see characters such as 'P1', 'P2' or 'P3'. Or when we listen to the commentators, we hear phrases such as 'mandatory Powerplay', 'batting/ bowling Powerplay'. Now all these rules come under the category of 'the field restrictions'. ODI innings is divided into parts where there are certain rules, restrictions for the field placement such as number of fielders on a particular side, distance of fielders from batsman in certain overs etc. This field restriction rules are a little complex to understand. But when to get the idea, it becomes easier to understand the strategy of captains as to why they place certain fielders at certain place only. Or why Powerplay are taken instantly or delayed. Let's looks at what rules say:
  • In any Powerplay/ non Powerplay over, there cannot be more than 5 fieldsmen on the leg side.
  • In non Powerplay overs, there cannot be more than 5 fielders outside the field restriction area.
  • Once a side nominates a Powerplay, the decision cannot be reversed.
The 30 Yard Circle
How is the field restriction area is marked? Two semi-circles, with 30 yard radius, are drawn on the field of play with center of the middle stump at either end of the pitch as their center. And they are connected by two parallel lines. (Many a times you must have heard ‘the 30 yard circle’- this is the area commentators refer to!) This - the field restriction area - is shown in blue color in adjacent picture.

During the first block of Powerplay Overs, only two fieldsmen are permitted outside this fielding restriction area. Two fieldsmen should be within the 15 yard from the batsman on strike (15 yard aread marked by the dotted circles, mostly seen as white discs on ground). However, this 15 yard restriction is not observed if fielders are standing in slip, leg slip or gully position. This is the ‘mandatory Powerplay’, as in, no team has any choice about its selection, always taken between over  number 1 to 10 i.e., at  commencement of an innings , marked as ‘P1’.

During the second (P2) and third (P3) Powerplay blocks, only three fieldsmen are permitted outside the fielding restriction area. And there is no other restriction on other fielders.

Now, out of the two blocks, one is termed as ‘batting Powerplay’. The batting side has the choice to select the 5 overs’ block. Any of the batsmen on field can chose to select the batting Powerplay.
Other is termed as ‘bowling Powerplay’. In this, the bowling team can select the 5 overs’ slot. The bowling side has the choice to select the 5 overs’ block. This Powerplay can be opted at wish of bowling team’s captain. There is no rule as to which Powerplay must be taken first and second.

Now, the rule says these two Powerplays must be opted and ended between over number 15 to 40. If both the sides do not opt their own Powerplays upto 30th over, then automatically, overs 31 to 40 become the two blocks of Powerplays. A little variation of this rule is, suppose one of the two blocks is yet to be commenced till 35th over, then the remaining Powerplay will commence at 36th over.
  • In the event of an infringement of any of the above fielding restrictions, the square leg umpire should call and signal ‘No Ball’.
  • Umpire signals the ‘Powerplays’ by rolling his arms thrice.
  • In case where an innings of an ODI is interrupted, then the Powerplay overs are rearranged as below:

Well, this is how the field restrictions and Powerplay rules are implemented. And this is why the captains need to constantly maneuver the fieldsmen. This is why Powerplays are considered as scoring opportunities. And thas is how batting side few times looses wickets while accelerating score!  I hope, you must have now realized Powerplay Rule in Cricket works and its Hows, Whys!

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