Powerplay Rules in T20I
Cricket is a batsman’s game. Audiences at cricket matches most of all love seeing high-scoring matches in which teams try to chase down huge targets. Powerplay rules were introduced to encourage batting teams to score more runs, knowing that many fielders were required to remain inside a thirty-yard circle. Thus, a ball hit over the head of a fielder was more likely to reach the fence, given that fewer fielders were outside the circle to be able to stop a boundary hit.
Key Powerplay Rules in T20
There is a mandatory powerplay in T20 matches that is restricted to the first six overs. During this phase, the fielding side cannot have more than two fielders outside the thirty-yard circle. Overs seven to 20 are non-powerplay overs and during this period, the fielding side is allowed to have a maximum of five fielders outside the thirty-yard circle.
What are the Powerplay Rules in Cricket?
Powerplay rules apply only to limited-overs cricket. There are differences between the ways the rules are applied in T20 games and ODIs.
T20 Powerplay Rules
During the first six overs of a T20 match, the fielding side cannot have more than two fielders outside the thirty-yard circle. In other words, nine out of eleven players of the fielding side may stay within the thirty-yard circle during the first six overs of a T20 game. However, the fielding restriction may be relaxed once six overs have been bowled. Between the seventh and 20th overs, the fielding captain at his discretion may choose to have as many as five fielders outside the thirty-yard circle. In other words, the fielding side is under no compulsion to have more than six players, including the wicketkeeper and the bowler, inside the thirty-yard circle. The powerplay rules may be amended in a rain-curtailed match. For instance, umpires can decide to reduce the number of mandatory powerplay overs to four in an innings that is restricted to 12 overs.
Powerplay in ODI
According to the powerplay rules currently applied in ODIs, an ODI game of 50 overs is divided into three blocks. First, there is a mandatory powerplay during the first 10 overs. During this phase, the fielding side may have no more than two fielders outside the 30-yard circle. Next, there is a block between overs 11 and 40. During this phase of the game, the fielding captain is required to keep at least seven players, including the keeper and the bowler, within the thirty-yard circle. In the third block, between overs 41 and 50, the fielding captain must keep at least six players inside the thirty-yard circle. In other words, during the third phase, no more than five fielders can be placed outside the thirty-yard circle.
How the Powerplay Rules Evolved
Powerplay rules have evolved over time. They were first introduced in 2005 when in addition to a mandatory powerplay during the first 10 overs of an ODI the ICC allowed two more powerplays of five overs each, on the condition that the bowling side could choose when to have the additional powerplays. Until 2005, ODI rules required two fielders in catching positions during the first 15 overs of an innings. In July 2005, the ICC decided that this restriction would be effective during the first 10 overs.
In 2008, the ICC concluded that allowing the bowling side to choose both non-mandatory powerplays favoured the bowling side and changed the rules to allow the batting side to decide when one of the non-mandatory powerplays would become effective.
On 1 October 2011, the powerplay rule was amended. With that, two additional powerplays were to be taken between overs 11 and 40. In case either side failed to choose the powerplay overs, the umpires could decide to complete the overs before the commencement of the 41st over. Thus, in an extreme case, overs 31 to 40 could comprise two additional powerplay segments.
On 29 October 2012, the ICC decided to reduce the number of powerplays to two, including the mandatory powerplay from overs one to 10. Until this phase began, five players were allowed to remain outside the thirty-yard circle during non-powerplay overs (41-50). From October 2012, the number of players allowed outside the thirty-yard circle during non-powerplay overs was reduced to four.
The current ODI powerplay rules became effective on 5 July 2015. Under the new rules, a match was to be divided into three powerplay segments and there would no longer be any restriction related to fielders in catching positions.
Highest Scores and Powerplay Records
Ireland scored 93 runs in the first six overs of a T20I against the West Indies in Granada in January 2020, setting a record for the most runs scored during a T20I powerplay. Openers Kevin O’Brien and Paul Stirling were the men who set the record in a thrilling match that Ireland went on to win by four runs. While O’Brien scored 48 from 32 balls, Stirling made 95 off 47 balls. Between the two, the players hit ten sixes.
Sri Lanka scored 133 for no loss in the first 10 overs of an ODI against England held at Leeds in July 2006, setting a target for the most runs in the mandatory powerplay of an ODI. Chasing a daunting target of 322 to win, Sri Lanka accomplished the target in 37.3 overs, losing just two wickets in the process. Both openers helped themselves to centuries: while Jayasuriya made 152 off 99 balls, Tharanga hammered 109 off 102. However, the Sri Lankan batsmen do not own the record for any 10 overs of an ODI. That was set by Pakistan against Zimbabwe at Multan in 2004. At the end of 40 overs, Pakistan were 147/6. After the 50th overs had been bowled, their score stood at 292/7, registering a record of 145 runs made between overs 41 and 50.
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