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Short form cricket

Short form cricket is a collective term for several modified forms of the sport of cricket, with playing times significantly shorter than more traditional forms of the game.

A typical short form cricket match can be completed within two to three hours, compared to 7-8 hours for a one-day cricket match, or five days for a Test match.

These short forms of cricket have been developed locally by various authorities, to fill a perceived marketing vacancy for a form of the sport which can be completed in a few hours, rather than a full day. They tend to emphasise the more "exciting" aspects of cricket as seen by more casual observers of the game, which includes aggressive batting and fast run scoring. In this regard, they are successful, as shortened forms of cricket attract crowds of spectators who might not otherwise attend a cricket match.

Some people decry these shortened forms of the game. Various reasons include:

* the perceived lack of emphasis on bowling skills;
* the elimination of long-term strategy and planning throughout a match;
* the perceived reduction in workable tactical options for various situations that may arise in a game;
* the overtly commercial aspects of short form cricket, such as pre-game entertainment, crowd participation, and so on - traditionally absent from longer forms of the game.
* the introduction of concepts such as bowl-out, free hit, power-play etc. that deviate from traditional skill-sets that the game requires

Nevertheless, short form cricket has quickly become popular and seems likely to remain a part of cricket for the foreseeable future.
Cricket Max

Cricket Max is a form of cricket invented in New Zealand by former New Zealand cricketer and captain Martin Crowe which was played by New Zealand first-class cricket teams in an annual competition. It was essentially a very short form of one-day cricket, with each team permitted two innings, but a maximum of only 10 overs for each innings.

Other major changes from the Laws of Cricket include:

* Each side bats two innings of a maximum of 10 overs each.
* Batsmen may not be out from a no ball as usual, and also the next ball bowled after a no ball. This is intended to encourage aggressive batting on the "free hit" ball.
* Wides score 2 extras instead of 1.
* Bowlers may not bowl more than 4 overs per match. These may be distributed between the two innings in any way.
* The field is marked with trapezoidal "Max" zones, one at each end of the field, beginning 60 metres from the striker's wicket, where the trapezoid is 40 metres wide, and extending to the boundary, where the trapezoid is 50 metres wide. Any ball hit into the Max zone doubles the number of runs scored from that ball, whether by running between the wickets, or a boundary four or six. Fielders may not be in the Max zone as the ball is bowled. Only the Max zone in front of the striker is valid for all these rules.
* The first version of Cricket Max also included the use of 4 stumps, instead of 3, at each end of the cricket pitch. This was designed to help bowlers dismiss batsmen, as a batsman could not be dismissed leg before wicket.

[edit] Twenty20 Cricket
Main article: Twenty20

Twenty20 cricket was introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2003. It is a form of one-day cricket in which each team bats for a maximum of only 20 overs, contrasting with 50 overs for a standard one-day match. This means a game can be completed in about three hours, making it more palatable for children and families than longer matches. Many games also feature additional activities, such as bouncy castles or bowling speed-guns in order to provide more entertainment. It's also not unusual to have people walking around selling bottles of beer.

The English first-class counties participate in a Twenty20 Cup competition annually. Many games are played in twilight, again to enhance family spectator appeal. They also feature numerous musical 'stings' for exciting events, such as the dismissal of a batsman, or the hitting of a boundary. Such fours and sixes are made easier to achieve by the shortening of the boundaries.

Major changes from the Laws of Cricket include:

* Should a bowler deliver a no ball by overstepping the crease, his next delivery is designated a free-hit, from which the batsman can only be dismissed through a run-out, as is the case for the original no ball.
* Bowlers may bowl a maximum of only 4 overs per innings, as is standard for 20-over cricket.
* Umpires may award 5-run penalties at their discretion if they believe either team is wasting time.

So far, Twenty20 has proved very popular with the public. On July 15, 2004, Middlesex vs. Surrey (the first Twenty20 game to be held at Lord's) attracted a crowd of 26,500, the largest attendance for any county game other than a one-day final since 1953.

On August 5, 2004, New Zealand Women defeated England Women in the first international Twenty20 match, played at Hove in England.

On January 12, 2005, Australia's first Twenty20 game was played at the WACA Ground between the Western Warriors and the Victorian Bushrangers. It drew a sellout crowd of 20,700 - the largest seen at the ground for many years.

On February 17, 2005, Australia defeated New Zealand in the first men's international Twenty20 match, played at Eden Park in Auckland.

The United States professional Pro Cricket league used a format based on Twenty20, with two other changes:

* Overs are 5 balls long.
* Bowlers are restricted to 5 overs per innings (meaning only 4 bowlers are required). (For more information on bowler restrictions, see one-day cricket.)

On September 24, 2007, India captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the inaugural World Twenty20 by defeating arch rivals Pakistan in the final.

On 21 June 2009, the young Pakistani side outclassed Sri Lanka winning the second World Twenty20 comprehensively by 8 wickets.
[edit] Sixes Cricket
See also: Hong Kong International Cricket Sixes

Sixes Cricket is a very short form of the sport designed to be played by teams of only six players. Each team receives one innings, with a maximum of only five overs. Naturally, with far fewer fielders, runs are much easier to score, and sixes matches are typically frenetic affairs.

Other major changes to the Laws of Cricket include:

* Each player on a side is permitted to bowl a maximum of one over.
* Wides and no balls score 2 extra runs each.
* If five wickets fall, the last batsman bats on. The last batsman to get out remains on the field as a non-batting runner, and the batsmen swap ends whenever the runner ends up on strike.
* A batsman who reaches 31 or more runs must retire "not out". If one of the last pair of batsmen is out, a retired batsman may come in and resume his innings.

Sixes cricket came to prominence with a high-profile tournament held in Hong Kong annually, involving some of the best players from each Test nation, as well as other countries. The entire tournament is run over two days.

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