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Law 12 in Action

A Completed innings at the conclusion of match

Question:

If at the end of a match all the overs required in the last hour have been bowled and time for close of play has been reached, has the side batting last completed its innings, so that if the scores of the two sides are equal the result is a Tie, even though the side batting last is not all out?

Answer:

An agreement, as permitted under Law 12.1(b), to limit an innings to a number of overs or by a period of time is a Playing Condition or Regulation overriding Law. In the absence of such an agreement, hours of play are to be agreed for the match.

This is different from agreeing limits on particular innings, such as a maximum of 3 hours or not more than 50 overs. If, however, such an agreement is in place, then time for Close of Play and the strictures of Law 16 about the last hour do not apply.

Under Law, for the outcome of a match to be a Tie when final scores are equal at the conclusion of the match, the side batting last must have completed its innings. Law 12.3 sets out the four conditions for completion of an innings.

Three are self explanatory;

1. the side is all out (or the equivalent if some batsmen are unable to bat),
2. the captain declares the innings closed,
3. the captain forfeits the innings

The fourth applies only if it has been agreed to limit that innings to an agreed number of overs or by a specified length of time.

In this case, and this case only, the innings will be completed when the agreed limit, whether of time or of overs, has been reached. If it is the final innings then the match is concluded. The regulation limiting the final innings by time or overs should include guidance about the result, including the case when final scores are equal.

When, without such an agreement, hours of play for the match are settled as required by Law 3.3, this is not setting a time limit on the final innings. The fact that, for example, time for close of play on the final day is agreed as 6-30 p.m., is not limiting the final innings by a period of time. That side may have batted all day!

Law 16 further stipulates that there shall be a last hour based on the agreed hours of play, in which a minimum number of overs must be bowled. That is not limiting the final innings to a number of overs. There may have been any number of overs in the innings before the last hour begins.

Consequently, reaching time for Close of Play and bowling all the overs required for the last hour means that, under Law 16.9, the match is concluded but does not guarantee that the final innings is completed. For that, one of the first three criteria set out above must also be satisfied. The conclusion of the match can coincide with the conclusion of the final innings if the last batsman is dismissed on the final ball.

Various forms of result are possible even if the final innings is not completed, or the outcome may be a Draw. It is not until that innings is complete, however, that a Tie is possible, with the further condition that the final scores are level. In the situation of the question, none of the criteria for completing the innings is satisfied. The outcome is a Draw, not a Tie

[Law reference: 12.3, 16.6, 21]


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