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What is the powerplay in T20 cricket?

Jake Nichol October 30, 2021
What is the powerplay in T20 cricket?
Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images

A feature of white ball cricket, what is the powerplay in T20 cricket and what difference are there in its use in ODI matches?

T20 powerplay cricket term explained

At the start of an innings in T20 cricket, there are some restrictions placed on the fielding side.

The bowling/fielding team can only place two fielders outside the 30-yard circle marked on the pitch.

The other seven fielders (minus the bowler and wicket-keeper) must stand on the edge of the marker.

The Hundred | Trailer – BBC Trailers

The Hundred | Trailer – BBC Trailers

It is designed to help the batting team get off to a good start in their innings.

White ball cricket lends itself to faster scoring rates than in Test matches.

The limits on placement of the field during the power play is one such reason for this.

In T20s, the power play is only active for the first six overs of the 20 allotted to each team.

However, the end of the power play does not mean a free hand for the fielding skipper.

From the seventh over on, five fielders are allowed outside the circle.

Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images

What is the difference with ODI powerplay cricket?

ODI matches are usually scheduled to last 50 overs per side.

As opposed to the one power play per innings found in T20s, ODI matches feature three.

In the first 10 overs, just two fielders are allowed outside the circle – similar to the T20 format.

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

It is increased to four fielders in the middle of the game, before a new set of regulations are introduced for the final 10 overs.

Here, five of the team’s nine available fielders will stand outside the circle.

This is a more defensive move, designed to give the bowling/fielding side some opportunity to limit the total the opposition score.

What about Test matches?

In Test matches, fielding limits are rare.

The only restriction is that no more than two fielders can stand between square leg and long stop.

This came into force in response to the ‘Bodyline’ tactics deployed by England on an Ashes tour to Australia.

Other than that, the only fielding restriction in Test cricket is the captain’s imagination.

Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

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Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.