Kolkata Knight Riders' Mitchell Starc bowls a delivery during the...

Kolkata Knight Riders' Mitchell Starc bowls a delivery during the Indian Premier League qualifier cricket match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Ahmedabad, India, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Credit: AP/Ajit Solanki

LONDON — The yorker went through the gate to take out off stump and send the pinch-hitter back to the shed for a golden duck. What an absolute jaffa!

Got that?

It all makes perfect sense in places like England, India and Pakistan, Australia and the Caribbean where cricket has a long history and a huge following. But if you're scratching your head and wondering what that all means, then worry no more.

Here, The Associated Press offers a casual watcher’s guide to cricket and what you might see and hear during the June 1-29 Twenty20 World Cup in the United States and Caribbean. Of the three main forms of international cricket, T20 is the shortest.


The Basics:


Sunrisers Hyderabad's Travis Head is bowled out by Kolkata Knight...

Sunrisers Hyderabad's Travis Head is bowled out by Kolkata Knight Riders' Mitchell Starc during the Indian Premier League qualifier cricket match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad in Ahmedabad, India, Tuesday, May 21, 2024. Credit: AP/Ajit Solanki

The key word in cricket, with several different meanings (nobody said cricket was easy).

“Taking a wicket” means a bowler — think pitcher — has got a batter out. Take 10 wickets and the innings is over. Modes of dismissal — when a wicket is taken — include bowled, caught, run out or trapped leg before wicket. Wickets also refers to the three wooden stumps at either end. Batters scamper between the wickets to score a run every time they cross over. The wicket can also be the 22 yards (20 meters) between the two sets of stumps. Expect lots of runs if you hear “good batting wicket.”


Each team (of 11 players) has one innings — not inning — at the Twenty20 World Cup. The captains toss a coin and the winner decides whether his team will bat or bowl first. There are a maximum 10 wickets in each innings before the team is all out and the other team bats. A scoreboard showing 150-4 means the team has tallied 150 runs and lost four wickets — four people have been dismissed out of a maximum 10. The higher the first number in a score like 150-4 (50 is very bad, 200 is very good) and the lower the second means the batting team is doing well. A 10-wicket win means a team has exceeded its opponent’s score without losing any wickets. Like a 6-0, 6-0 victory in tennis.

Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Rajat Patidar catches the ball at the...

Royal Challengers Bengaluru's Rajat Patidar catches the ball at the boundary to stop a six during the Indian Premier League cricket match between Gujarat Titans and Royal Challengers Bengaluru in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday, April 28, 2024. Credit: AP/Ajit Solanki


T20 World Cup games last 20 overs per team. There are six balls in an over. Not all teams use up all their overs, as they may lose their 10 wickets before the 20 overs have gone. Overs are also important in alternating the opposite ends from which bowlers bowl. When the over is, well, over, it’s the turn of the batter at the other end to face the next bowler. If no runs are scored in an over, the bowler is deemed to have bowled a maiden over. Then there's the so-called death overs — which has come into cricket parlance with the booming popularity of T20 cricket. They're the last couple of overs when batters take big risks everything to hit as many boundaries as possible.


The Quirky:


The beamer is an illegal delivery where the bowler hurls the ball at the batter’s head without it bouncing. Rare, almost always accidental and, we’ve got to say it once in this guide, just not cricket.


It’s 4 runs if a batter hits the ball beyond the edge of the field (the boundary) and 6 if he does it without the ball bouncing. At Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens, batters have hit the ball out of the stadium and into the adjacent River Taff. That’s no extra runs, but you don’t have to pay for a new ball.


Not a farewell greeting to friends but part of something called “extras” that increase a team’s score by at least 1 run. If a bowler is having a bad day, the extras’ total can quickly mount up. One of the extras is called a wide — where the ball goes so far away from the batter there is no realistic chance of hitting it, however long his arms.


Beamers are bad, so play some chin music instead. Fast bowlers aim to bounce the ball so that it rises steeply around a batter’s face. Can also be known as sniffs — passing so close to the nose that a batter can smell the leather — or simply a bouncer.


Not an actual animal. Not really a corner. A position covering part of the field where the opposition tries to catch one of the two batters. Other strange cricketing positions include third man (on the boundary and often seen having a chat with spectators in village cricket games), first slip (who stands next to the wicketkeeper) and silly point, where the fielder stands dangerously close to the batter.


The ultimate embarrassment for any batter. He gets padded up for protection, makes a long walk out to the middle of the field and then is out on the first ball. He returns to the dressing room/locker room/pavilion/shed in disgrace. A standard “duck” is where a batter lasts more than one ball but still fails to score. There's also the reviled diamond duck, where a player is run out without even facing a ball.


Far from an adjective to describe an internet search engine, this is actually one of the hardest balls to bowl in cricket. Sent down by a spin bowler, the googly — or the wrong ’un — bounces and turns into the batter rather than away. What makes it particularly difficult is that the ball comes out of the back of the bowler’s hand, so batters can’t guess in advance what’s coming their way. TV viewers will know it when they see it.


A delivery that is so good it's almost unplayable — often acknowledged by a nod of the head from a batter.


Doesn't mean the leather ball has disappeared. Rather, it means a bowler has either stepped over the ‘popping’ crease in the delivery stride, or the ball has passed the batter too high. It adds an extra ball to the over and a run to the batting team's total.


When a delivery hits the batter on the lower leg directly in front of the stumps before or without hitting the bat, it's usually considered a “plumb” leg before wicket (LBW) decision — i.e. there can be no doubt the ball would have hit the stumps if it hadn't hit the batter's leg first.


The simplest of catches usually lead to a routine dismissal. A fielder who drops a sitter usually gets extra attention from the crowd.


Hoping to claim a wicket, bowlers aim the ball at three vertical sticks known as stumps with two horizontal bails across the top. Each stump has its own name — leg stump is the one nearest a batter’s leg, middle stump is — surprise, surprise — in the center, and off stump is the other one. There are two sets of stumps, one at each end of the pitch. “Stumps” is also used to say that play has ended for the day in a longer version of the game.


In cricket, it’s best to keep the gate shut. It is the gap between the batter's bat and pads that bowlers try to target. Close the gate, though, and you are in danger of the ball hitting you on the pad and being given out LBW (leg before wicket).


Was the word spawned by cricketers from Yorkshire in northern England? Its origins are still up for debate, but there is no doubting what it is. The yorker is a ball bowled that hits the ground near the batsman’s feet at the crease. Batters can do little more than block it. It makes some lose balance and fall over. Others miss it altogether and hear the sound of the ball hitting their stumps. Australia's left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Starc is well known for his in-swinging yorker.

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