Cricket Laws - Bowling, Dismissals

latest cricket

World T20, 2nd Semi-Final

India vs West Indies

at Mumbai, Mar 31, 2016
West Indies 196/3 beat India 192/2 by 7 wickets

Cricket Game - Laws of Cricket

Cricket Rules

Also see What is Cricket? (Explanation about Cricket), Cricket Laws, Rules, Cricket History Timeline, History of Cricket and History of ODI Cricket.

Cricket Laws

Cricket Rules: The game is played in accordance with 42 laws of cricket, which have been developed by the Marylebone Cricket Club in discussion with the main cricketing nations. Teams may agree to alter some of the rules for particular games. Other rules supplement the main laws and change them to deal with different circumstances. In particular, there are a number of modifications to the playing structure and fielding position rules that apply to one innings games - like ODIs and Twenty20 Matches - that are restricted to a set number of fair deliveries.

Cricket Laws concerning Bowling and Dismissals

Bowling and dismissals

(Existing Cricket Rules)


A bowler delivers the ball toward the batsmen, using what is known as a bowling action: the elbow may be held at any angle and may bend further, but may not straighten out during the action. If the elbow straightens, it is an illegal throw and the delivery is called a no-ball. Under new cricketing law, after consultation with health experts, the bowler is allowed to straighten his arm 15 degrees or less, if the bowler straightens his or her arm more than 15 degrees it is called a "no ball". This new law came in to prevent injury to bowlers. Usually, the bowler pitches the ball so that it bounces before reaching the batsman. Some part of the bowler's front foot in the delivery stride (that is, the stride when the ball is released) must be behind the popping crease to avoid a no-ball (although the bowler's front foot does not have to be grounded). The ball must also be delivered so it is within the batsman's reach; otherwise it is termed a wide. A wide cannot be called if the batsman hits the ball. A wide or no-ball results in an extra run being added to the batting team's score, and an extra ball being bowled in the over.
The bowler's primary goal is to take wickets; that is, to get a batsman out or dismissed. If a bowler can dismiss the more accomplished batsmen on the opposing team he reduces the opportunity for them to score, as it exposes the less skilful batsmen. Their next task is to limit the numbers of runs scored per over they bowl. This is known as the Economy rate. If a bowler gets a batsman out, he is credited for this achievement. There are two main kinds of bowlers: pace bowlers and spin bowlers.

Dismissal of a batsman

A batsman is allowed to bat as long as he does not get out (also known as being dismissed). There are ten ways of being dismissed, some of which are credited as wickets to the bowler, some of which are not credited to any player. If the batsman is dismissed, another player from the batting team replaces him until ten batsmen are out and the innings is over.
Many modes of dismissal require the wicket to be "put down". The wicket is put down if a bail is dislodged from the top of the stumps or a stump is struck out of the ground either by the ball, or by a fielder using his hand which is holding the ball. Of the following ten modes of dismissal, the first six are common, while the last four are technicalities which rarely occur. Briefly, the ten modes are:
  • Caught : When a fielder catches the ball before the ball bounces and after the batsman has struck it with the bat or it has come into contact with the batsman's glove while it is in contact with the bat handle. The bowler and catcher are both credited.
  • Bowled : When a delivered ball hits the stumps at the batsman's end, and dislodges one or both of the bails. This happens regardless of whether the batsman has edged the ball onto the stumps or not. The bowler is credited with the dismissal.
  • Leg before wicket (LBW) : When a delivered ball misses the bat and strikes the batsman's leg or pad, and the umpire judges that the ball would otherwise have struck the stumps. The laws of cricket stipulate certain exceptions in favour of the batsman; for instance, a batsman should not be given out LBW if the place where the ball bounced on the pitch is to the leg-side of the area strictly between the two wickets. The bowler is credited with the dismissal.
  • Run out : When a fielder, bowler or wicket-keeper removes one or both of the bails with the ball by hitting the stumps whilst a batsman is still running between the two ends. The ball can either hit the stumps directly or the fielder's hand with the ball inside it can be used to dislodge the bails. Such a dismissal is not officially credited to any player, although the identities of the fielder or fielders involved is often noted in brackets on the scorecard.
  • Stumped : When the batsman leaves his crease in playing a delivery, voluntarily or involuntarily, but the ball goes to the wicket-keeper who uses it to remove one or both of the bails through hitting the bail(s) or the wicket before the batsman has remade his ground. The bowler and wicket-keeper are both credited. This generally requires the keeper to be standing within arm's length of the wicket, which is done mainly to spin bowling.
  • Hit wicket : When the batsman accidentally knocks the stumps with either the body or the bat, causing one or both of the bails to be dislodged, either in playing a shot or in taking off for the first run. The bowler is credited with the dismissal.
  • Handled the ball : When the batsman deliberately handles the ball without the permission of the fielding team. No player is credited with the dismissal.
  • Hit the ball twice : When the batsman deliberately strikes the ball a second time, except for the sole purpose of guarding his wicket. No player is credited with the dismissal.
  • Obstructing the field : When a batsman deliberately hinders a fielder from attempting to field the ball. No player is credited with the dismissal.
  • Timed out : When a new batsman takes more than three minutes to take his position in the field to replace a dismissed batsman. (If the delay is protracted, the umpires may cause the match to be forfeited.) No player is credited with the dismissal
Additionally, a batsman may leave the field without being dismissed. For instance, if he is injured or taken ill, this is known as retired hurt or retired ill. The batsman is not out; he may return to bat later in the same innings if sufficiently recovered. Also, an unimpaired batsman may retire, in which case he is treated as being dismissed retired out; no player is credited with the dismissal.
An individual cannot be out 'bowled', 'caught', 'leg before wicket', 'stumped', or 'hit wicket' off a no ball. He cannot be out 'bowled', 'caught', 'leg before wicket', or 'hit the ball twice' off a wide.
Some of these modes of dismissal can take place without the bowler bowling a delivery. The batsman who is not on strike may be run out by the bowler if he leaves his crease before the bowler bowls, and a batsman can be out obstructing the field or retired out at any time. Timed out by its nature is a dismissal without a delivery. With all other modes of dismissal, only one batsman can be dismissed per ball bowled. Obstructing the field, Handled the ball, Timed Out and Hit the ball twice dismissals are extremely rare.

Editor: Nishanth Gopinathan.