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An innings is one of the divisions of a cricket match during which one team takes its turn to bat. Innings also means the period in which an individual player bats (acts as either striker or nonstriker). In cricket and rounders, "innings" is both singular and plural; this contrasts with baseball and softball in which the singular is "inning".



The earliest known record of the term concerns a match in August 1730 at Blackheath, Kent between a Kent side and London Cricket Club. The London-based St. James Evening Post reported: "'Twas thought that the Kentish champions would have lost their honours by being beat at one innings if time had permitted". [1] [2]

Usage in cricket

An innings is one of the divisions of a match during which one team takes its turn to bat, and is said to be "in to bat". [3] [4] Innings is the subject of Law 13 in the Laws of Cricket . [5]

The term is also used with the meaning of "score" for both the team and each individual batsman. For example, it may be said that "he played an innings of 101", meaning that the player scored 101 runs in his innings (while batting during one of the team's innings). Similarly, it may be said that the team had a first innings (score) of 501. [5]

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In cricket, a team's innings ends in one of the following ways. In cases 1 and 2, the team are said to be all out, because they do not have two players available to bat.

  1. All but one of the batsmen are out.
  2. The batting side only has one not-out batsman who is still able to bat.
  3. The team batting last scores the required number of runs to win.
  4. The game runs out of time for either side to win, and so finishes as a draw.
  5. The set number of overs have been bowled.
  6. The team's captain declares the innings closed.
  7. The Match Referee decides that one team has forfeited the game.

Cricket is a multi-faceted sport with different formats, depending on the standard of play, the desired level of formality, and the time available. One of the main differences is between matches limited by time in which the teams have two innings apiece, and those limited by number of overs in which they have a single innings each. The former, known as first-class cricket if played at the senior level, has a scheduled duration of three to five days ; the latter, known as limited overs cricket because each team bowls a limit of typically 50 overs, has a planned duration of one day only. A separate form of limited overs is Twenty20, originally designed so that the whole game could be played in a single evening, in which each team has an innings limited to twenty overs.

In the sport of cricket, a declaration occurs when a captain declares their team's innings closed and a forfeiture occurs when a captain chooses to forfeit an innings without batting. Declaration and forfeiture are covered in Law 15 of the Laws of Cricket. This concept applies only to matches in which each team is scheduled to bat in two innings; Law 15 specifically does not apply in any form of limited overs cricket.

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In the years from 1726 to 1750, cricket became an established sport in London and the south-eastern counties of England. In 1726, it was already a thriving sport in the south east and, though limited by the constraints of travel at the time, it was slowly gaining adherents in other parts of England, its growth accelerating with references being found in many counties. Having been essentially a rural pastime for well over a century, cricket became a focus for wealthy patrons and gamblers whose interests funded its growth throughout the 18th century.

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  1. Buckley, p. 4.
  2. Maun, p. 130.
  3. Sarah Jewell; J. James Reade; Carl Singleton. "It's Just Not Cricket: The Uncontested Toss and the Gentleman's Game" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 November 2021. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  4. "Why captains choose not to follow-on these days". 28 July 2017. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  5. 1 2 "Law 13 – Innings". MCC. Archived from the original on 1 October 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017.