If you’re watching a cricket match and you feel like it has been going on forever, then you’re not the first person to feel that way, and you certainly won’t be the last! Cricket matches can feel notoriously long. But, it may not always be the case. In this post, we share all about the duration of a cricket match. Plus, in the end, we share exactly when you can take a snack break so you don’t feel like you’ve missed much of the match!
So, how long does a Cricket Match Last? A Cricket Match, on average, lasts for about 7.5 to 8.5 hours on a given match day. However, the duration of a cricket match varies by the format being played. T20 Cricket matches are much shorter and last for a little over 3 hours.
Cricket, unlike other sports, is played in multiple formats. The current international formats that are played are Test Matches, One-day International (ODI), & Twenty20 International (T20I). Thus, it is important for us to understand the duration in relation to the format of the game. So, let’s dive into the details to get a better understanding!
How Long Does a Test Match Last?
Test Cricket is the oldest and purest form of cricket. Cricket’s origin dates back to 1597 in England where we have earliest defined evidence of the existence of the game. The cricket game has been played for over 400+ years to date.
In test cricket, the play usually lasts for about 7 hours and 30 minutes each day and the matches are played over 5 days. The play may be extended for an additional half an hour on a particular day if the minimum numbers of overs are not bowled or if there is a possibility of a result on the final day’s play.
Each day is split into three sessions of game with tea or lunch break between the sessions. The time breakdown of test matches on each day is as follows –
- Session 1 – 2 hours of play
- Lunch – 40 minutes
- Session 2 – 2 hours of play
- Tea – 20 minutes
- Session 3 – 2.5 hours of play
Currently, the Test cricket is played over 5 days with a minimum of 90 overs bowled in each day. Every match consists of 4 innings with both teams batting twice.
The match may end without all 4 innings if a team is unable to get the opposition all out, or the duration of the match ends, or due to the weather interruptions.
Test Cricket is mostly played in the day time. In the sub-continent, the matches are usually played between 9 AM to 5 PM whereas in England, Australia, and New Zealand the play takes place between 11 AM to 7 PM.
The day-night Test Matches have been a recent addition and are mostly played as one-off matches. These day-night test matches start around 2 PM and last till 10 PM in the night.
Timeless Test Matches
Prior to the Test Matches being limited to 5 days, the most common form of a Test Match was what we now call as “Timeless Test Matches”.
The Timeless Test Matches were not bound by any time limit and the play continued till a team wins or the match was tied. A draw was technically not a result in these kinds of matches, however, there were still two drawn matches that were played.
Did You Know?
The longest Test Match ever to be played lasted 12 days! It was played between England and South Africa in 1939. The match ended in a draw as England wanted to catch their ship at the end of the 12th day!
The Timeless Tests were played between 1877 and 1939 and 99 test timeless matches were recorded during that period.
The longest Timeless Test match lasted for 12 days between South Africa and England in 1939. This match ended as a draw after the England team wanted to catch their last ship with 44 runs remaining in the chase at the end of the 12th day. Ironically this was the last Timeless Test match ever to be played.
Duration of a First Class Cricket Match
First-class cricket is currently an active form of cricket across all the Test-playing nations.
First-class cricket usually refers to the domestic format of Test matches played in the countries. They follow the same session breakdown as in the international test matches and the only difference is that the first-class matches mostly last for 4 days.
How Long Does an ODI Match Last? (50 Over Match)
Now, let’s learn about the limited-overs format.
One-day International (ODI) matches are played for only two innings with each innings lasting a maximum of 50 overs. The ODI matches were earlier played for 60 overs and some 8-ball per over 40 over contests.
ODI matches usually last between 7.5 to 8 hours on the match day. ODI matches are played as both Day matches and Day-night matches usually.
The standard time break-up in the ODI format is as follows –
- First Innings – 3 hours & 20 minutes (50 overs)
- Break – 40 minutes
- Second Innings – 3 hours & 20 minutes (50 overs)
ODI matches may sometimes also be played over multiple days if the rain interruption takes place during the match day. This is based on whether the reserve day rule is applicable for the series or the specific tournament.
Under the reserve day rule, an additional day is kept in reserve and the match might restart or continue from the first day if weather halts on the day on the scheduled day.
Recently, the semifinal match between India and New Zealand during the ICC World Cup 2019 continued to resume play on reserve day.
How Long Does a T20 Match Last? (20 Over Match)
T20I is the shortest & latest international format of the game that came into existence in the year 2005.
T20I matches last around just 3 hours on an average. Like ODI matches, the T20Is are also played for just two innings with a maximum of 20 overs per side. T20 matches have caught the attention of the fans and many leagues are played across different countries using this format.
The standard time break-up in the T20I format is as follows –
- First Innings – 1 hour & 20 minutes (20 overs)
- Break – 20 minutes
- Second Innings – 1 hour & 20 minutes (20 overs)
Extension of a T20 Match due to a Super Over
The Super Over is one of the latest rules that came into place to determine the winner of the match in case of a tie.
A Super Over is a one-over eliminator between two teams. The team scoring most runs in the Super Over is declared a winner. The Super Over is applicable for all the T20I matches and in knockout matches of ODI matches.
A super over can extend the duration of the match by another 25-30 minutes. The Super Over starts about 10 minutes after the original match has been completed. Furthermore, each of the two overs takes about 5 to 6 minutes to complete. Additionally, there is a break of about 5 minutes between the two overs.
Duration of Other Forms of Cricket Matches
There are several other forms of cricket matches that are played around the world. However, these are not played at an international level even though they may have a huge fan following and cricket leagues of their own.
Duration of T10 Cricket Matches
T10 Cricket is one of the latest formats played only in few leagues. A T10 match usually consists of 2 innings with 10-overs per side. A T10 match usually lasts for 1.5 to 2 hours. This format has no standard time schedule in ICC’s guidelines as it is a non-standard format.
Duration of Super Sixes Cricket Matches
The Hong Kong Super Sixes is a small 6-over contest played with 6 players. A Super Sixes match usually lasts less than an hour. Every player is expected to bowl an over in this format and has a few different a set of rules from standard cricket
The Super Sixes format was inducted to promote cricket in non-cricket playing nations especially in the South-East Asian countries.
Duration of the 100 Ball Cricket Match
The 100 is a tournament proposed by England Cricket Board and is expected to be played in 2021 for the first time.
Each team plays for a maximum of 100 balls per innings in a two innings contest. A bowler can bowl a maximum for 20 balls with 5 or 10 consecutive balls. A 100 ball match lasts around 2.5 hours to 3 hours (A little less than a normal T20 cricket).
So, When is a Good Time to Take a Snack Break?
Cricket, like every other sport, has moments that are etched into the minds of fans for a very long time! But, these moments are often few and far between.
Test Matches –
Since the Test Matches are played over a few days, there are several opportunities to take a snack break! In fact, if you aren’t a big fan of cricket, you will surely find Test Matches to be really boring. In that case, I would recommend avoid watching such matches at all.
However, if don’t want to miss any action, the best time to take a break is usually between the sessions either during the lunch break or at tea.
ODI Matches –
The ODI Matches are definitely much shorter than Test Matches. However, they last almost as long as a work day! That’s still pretty long!
Most ODI Matches are great to watch mostly during the first 15 overs and the last 10 overs. An ODI match usually has the most action taking place during these phases. You may, however, want to check the score from time to time to know if there are any exciting moments taken place (a player on a scoring spree or a bowling team creating havoc).
T20 Matches –
The T20 matches are usually fairly short and action-packed with full of excitement! It is best to watch the complete T20 match in order to experience the most exciting moments of the match.
However, if you feel even 3 hours of cricket is a bit too much, you would be safe to take a break ideally during the innings break at the 1 hour 20 minute mark.
Additionally, in T20 cricket (just as the ODI cricket), the teams usually play aggressively during the first 6 overs and the last 5-6 overs.
What happens if the Game is Not Completed in Stipulated Time?
ICC has a strict stance on playing the games within the stipulated time allotted for the international matches (Test, ODI, & T20I).
According to the rules under the “Time Limit Offences” of the Laws of Cricket, the captain or the players of the team can be fined for a slow-over rate or if the team fails to complete their overs within the allocated timeframe.
During the ICC Test Championship, a team can also be penalized with negative points in the championship points table if found guilty of slow-over rate in test matches.
A game has to be played with stricter guidelines with regard to the time frame to give the best possible action and entertainment to the fans. Cricket as a game has stringent measures to deliver the required of overs for fans in every possible match and day of action unless a weather or external interruption stops or halts the play.
I hope you have learned about the duration of a cricket match, and how it varies with the different formats of the game. I hope that you enjoyed this article! Be sure to read other such articles on our website!