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Powerplay in ODI cricket: Meaning and Origin of the rule

Powerplay in ODI cricket is a set of fielding restrictions that the fielding team has to follow during the course of 50 overs. The International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced Powerplay in ODI cricket in 2005 when the T20I format was officially introduced in 2005.

What is powerplay in ODI cricket?

Powerplay is nothing but the fielding restrictions that the fielding team has to follow during the innings in a 50-over game. Only a select number of fielders are allowed within and outside the 30-year circle. This has been done to make the format interesting and bring balance to the format that is fast losing its sheen due to the introduction of T20 cricket.

How does powerplay in ODI work?

A 50-over innings in ODI cricket has been divided into three phases: 1-10 overs, 11-40 overs and 41-50 overs. The number of fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle during these three phases vary according to the rules set by the ICC. However, the number of overs in different phases can be changed according to the playing conditions. If the innings is reduced due to weather problems or any other reason, the match officials announce a new set of playing conditions and accordingly the powerplay in different phases change for the team.

What are the ODI powerplay rules?

In T20 cricket, the powerplay is only for six overs while the fielding team can place as many as 5 fielders outside the 30-yard circle for the rest of the innings. However, when it comes to ODI cricket, things have drastically over the years and we will concentrate only on the current ODI powerplay rules in this section.

As mentioned above, a 50-over ODI inning is divided into three phases – 1-10 overs, 11-40 overs and 41-50 overs. In the first 10 overs of innings, maximum of only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle providing a chance for the batting team to take the attack to the opposition.

In the second phase – 11-40 overs – which is also called the middle overs in the 50-over cricket, a maximum of four fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle. During this period, the batting team majorly looks to build an innings with a rotation of the strike while looking for an odd boundary here and there.

Then comes the final phase of the ODI innings – 41-50 overs – that is termed as death overs. In this phase, the fielding team is allowed a maximum of five fielders outside the 30-yard circle. This is to give the bowler maximum protection in order to save boundaries as batters look to attack almost every delivery in order to post or chase the total on the board.

What were the previous field restriction rules in cricket?

ODI cricket has evolved through so many years and so did the powerplay rules. Perhaps, the nomenclature Powerplay came into existence only in 2005. But the fielding restrictions in the first few overs of the 50-over innings were placed in the 1970s itself. The restrictions were first introduced notably during the World Series Cricket in 1980-81 in Australia.

Only two fielders were allowed outside the circle back then for the first 15 overs of the innings. For the rest of the innings (16-50 overs), five fielders were allowed outside the 30-yard circle.

In 2005, the powerplay was split into three blocks of 10-5-5 overs with the last two five-over powerplays with the bowling team. More often than not, the fielding sides continued the powerplay after the first 10 overs making it a 20-over set of powerplay with only two fielders outside the 30-yard circle.

To counter this issue, the ICC handed one of the five-over powerplays to the batting team. But most of the time, the teams took the powerplay in the death overs leading to a lot of runs being scored in the last five overs changing the complexion of the game completely.

Hence, in October 2011, ICC further made changes to the rules making it mandatory for the bowling and batting teams to take their five-over set of powerplay between overs 16-40. Hence, the first 10 overs of mandatory powerplay stood in place while the bowling team mostly took it from 16-20 overs while the batting team mostly took it from 36-40 overs.

In case, none of the sides didn’t take their powerplay on their own, the powerplays would become active automatically accordingly according to the restrictions. From October 2012, powerplay got reduced from three to two while during non-powerplay overs, only four fielders were allowed outside the 30-yard circle.

After making so many amendments in the rules, ICC finally came up with three powerplays through the 50-over innings. Moreover, the rule of having two catching fielders in the first mandatory powerplay was also relaxed. The same powerplay rules are being followed since then in ODI cricket.

Which team has the highest runs in the first powerplay in ODIs by a team?

TeamOppositionDateRuns in PP
New ZealandSri Lanka28 Dec 2015118
New ZealandEngland20 Feb 2015116
West IndiesIndia14 Aug 2019114
South AfricaSri Lanka8 Aug 2018113
AustraliaSri Lanka31 Aug 2016109

New Zealand scored the highest runs in the first powerplay in ODI cricket. They scored 118 runs in the first 10 overs of their innings on December 28, 2015, against Sri Lanka at Christchurch. The team hit eight sixes and 11 fours during this period maintaining a staggering run rate of 14.16 during this period. Interestingly, the batters played only 13 dot balls in the first 10 overs of the innings.

New Zealand are in the second position again in this list having scored 116 runs in the first 10 overs against England in February 2015. West Indies are in third place with 114 runs against India in the first 10 overs while South Africa and Australia occupy the next two places with 113 runs and 109 runs respectively against Sri Lanka in 2018 and 2016.

Which player made the most runs in an ODI powerplay?

BatterMatchDateRuns
Martin GuptillNZ v SL28 Dec 201593
Chris GayleWI v ENG2 March 201977
Brendon McCullumNZ v ENG20 Feb 201577
Kusal PereraSL v PAK15 July 201568
Alex HalesENG v NZ17 Jun 201566

New Zealand batter Martin Guptill has scored the most runs ever in an ODI powerplay. He smashed 93 runs on December 28, 2015, against Sri Lanka at Christchurch when the Kiwis managed to thump 118 runs in the first 10 overs. He had smashed nine fours and 8 sixes and scored 93 off just 30 balls at an unimaginable strike rate of 310.

Chris Gayle (77 runs), Brendon McCullum (77 runs), Kusal Perera (68 runs) and Alex Hales (66 runs) are the other batters to score the most runs in an ODI powerplay in cricket.

FAQs

How many powerplays are allowed in T20?

In T20 cricket, only one powerplay is allowed and it is active in the first six overs of the innings. During this period, only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle.

How many fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle in the powerplay in ODI?

In the first 10 overs, only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle in the first powerplay. In the second powerplay, only four fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle while in the third and final powerplay, five fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle.

How many powerplay overs during an ODI match?

An entire ODI innings consists of three powerplays in cricket. The fielding restrictions of having only two fielders outside the inner circle are in place in the first 10 overs only. The field can be spread with the said restrictions in the remaining 40 overs of an ODI innings.

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