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Law 20 - Dead ball

THE LAW

20.1 Ball is dead

20.1.1 The ball becomes dead when

20.1.1.1 it is finally settled in the hands of the wicket-keeper or of the bowler.

20.1.1.2 a boundary is scored.  See Law 19.7 (Runs scored from boundaries).

20.1.1.3 a batsman is dismissed.  The ball will be deemed to be dead from the instant of the incident causing the dismissal.

20.1.1.4 whether played or not it becomes trapped between the bat and person of a batsman or between items of his/her clothing or equipment.

20.1.1.5 whether played or not it lodges in the clothing or equipment of a batsman or the clothing of an umpire.

20.1.1.6 under either of Laws 24.4 (Player returning without permission) or 28.2 (Fielding the ball) there is an offence resulting in an award of Penalty runs. The ball shall not count as one of the over.

20.1.1.7 there is contravention of Law 28.3 (Protective helmets belonging to the fielding side).

20.1.1.8 the match is concluded in any of the ways stated in Law 12.9 (Conclusion of match).

20.1.2 The ball shall be considered to be dead when it is clear to the bowler’s end umpire that the fielding side and both batsmen at the wicket have ceased to regard it as in play.

20.2 Ball finally settled

Whether the ball is finally settled or not is a matter for the umpire alone to decide.

20.3 Call of Over or Time

Neither the call of Over (see Law 17.4), nor the call of Time (see Law 12.2) is to be made until the ball is dead, either under 20.1 or under 20.4.

20.4 Umpire calling and signalling Dead ball

20.4.1 When the ball has become dead under 20.1, the bowler’s end umpire may call and signal Dead ball if it is necessary to inform the players.

20.4.2 Either umpire shall call and signal Dead ball when

20.4.2.1 intervening in a case of unfair play.

20.4.2.2 a possibly serious injury to a player or umpire occurs.

20.4.2.3 leaving his/her normal position for consultation.

20.4.2.4 one or both bails fall from the striker’s wicket before the striker has had the opportunity of playing the ball.

20.4.2.5 the striker is not ready for the delivery of the ball and, if the ball is delivered, makes no attempt to play it.  Provided the umpire is satisfied that the striker had adequate reason for not being ready, the ball shall not count as one of the over.

20.4.2.6 the striker is distracted by any noise or movement or in any other way while preparing to receive, or receiving a delivery.  This shall apply whether the source of the distraction is within the match or outside it.  Note also 20.4.2.7.

The ball shall not count as one of the over.

20.4.2.7 there is an instance of a deliberate attempt to distract under either of Laws 41.4 (Deliberate attempt to distract striker) or 41.5 (Deliberate distraction, deception or obstruction of batsman).  The ball shall not count as one of the over.

20.4.2.8 the bowler drops the ball accidentally before delivery.

20.4.2.9 the ball does not leave the bowler’s hand for any reason other than an attempt to run out the non-striker under Law 41.16 (Non-striker leaving his/her ground early).

20.4.2.10 satisfied that the ball in play cannot be recovered.

20.4.2.11 required to do so under any of the Laws not included above.

20.5 Ball ceases to be dead

The ball ceases to be dead – that is, it comes into play – when the bowler starts his/her run-up or, if there is no run-up, starts his/her bowling action.

20.6 Dead ball; ball counting as one of over

20.6.1 When a ball which has been delivered is called dead or is to be considered dead then, other than as in 20.6.2,

20.6.1.1 it will not count in the over if the striker has not had an opportunity to play it.

20.6.1.2 unless No ball or Wide ball has been called, it will be a valid ball if the striker has had an opportunity to play it, except in the circumstances of 20.4.2.6 and Laws 24.4 (Player returning without permission), 28.2 (Fielding the ball), 41.4 (Deliberate attempt to distract striker) and 41.5 (Deliberate distraction, deception or obstruction of batsman).

20.6.2 In 20.4.2.5, the ball will not count in the over only if both conditions of not attempting to play the ball and having an adequate reason for not being ready are met.  Otherwise the delivery will be a valid ball.  

© Marylebone Cricket Club 2017

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Listen to actor, broadcaster and writer Stephen Fry, a well known cricket enthusiast and occasional umpire, bring his authoritative voice to the narration of this animation of the law. 

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