What is a Super Over in Cricket – Rules & Regulations Explained!

Digital Scoreboard displaying Super Over during a Cricket Match

Many of you may have come across the term “Super Over” in cricket. However, since the Super Over is a relatively new addition to the cricketing world, not all of us completely understand what it is and how does it work. So, in today’s post, we shall explain everything there is to know about a Super Over in cricket.

A Super Over in Cricket is a method of determining the winner if an ODI or T20 match ends in a tie. Both the teams play an additional set of 6 deliveries, and the team that scores the highest runs in this over is declared as a winner. A Super Over is also known as a one-over Eliminator.

However, there are several rules that govern how this super over shall be implemented. For instance, does it matter how many boundaries are scored by each team in this over? Or, what happens if even the super over ends in a tie? So, let’s understand the Super Over in further detail!

Rules of a Super Over

For us to truly understand how the super over is played in cricket, we first need to understand the rules of a Super Over. So, here are some of the most important rules that you should be aware of –

1. Both the Teams are allowed 1 Over Each in a Super Over

You can think of a Super Over as a super shortened version of a match. Both the teams are allowed an opportunity to bat for a maximum of 6 deliveries or 1 over. The team that scores the most runs wins the Super Over and the match.

2. The team that Batted Last in the Match, Bats first in the Super Over

This rule is pretty self explanatory. The team that was chasing the target during the match, now gets to set the target of the Super Over.

This is seen as an advantage by some, but in reality, it neither creates any advantage nor a disadvantage to either of the two teams.

3. Each Team is allowed a Maximum of 3 Batsmen (2 Wickets) during the Super Over

Both the teams are allowed to have 3 players nominated for batting during the super over. Furthermore, each player needs to be shared by the captain before the Super Over begins. Thus, if a batting team loses 2 wickets before the super over gets completed, their innings is considered complete.

First-ever super over played in T20 Cricket

The above video shows New Zealand losing both their wickets even before the Super Over is completed. In the history of cricket so far, it is the only time a team has ever lost both its wickets during a super over

4. Same Player CANNOT be Nominated for Batting and Bowling in a Super Over

Although the two captains have complete liberty in choosing the players for the super over, they are not at liberty to choose the same player for both batting as well as bowling. Thus, in total, a captain has to nominate 4 players names for the Super Over. These should include 3 batsmen and 1 bowler.

5. Fielding Team Chooses the Bowling End for the Super Over

Not all of you might be aware that during the match, overs are bowled from two different sides of the cricket pitch. These sides from which the bowler runs to bowl a delivery is called a bowling end.

During a Super Over, the bowling team is allowed to choose the end from which it would want to bowl the Super Over.

6. One Unsuccessful Player Review in Each Innings of the Super Over

A player review is when a batting team of a fielding team disagrees with the umpire’s decision and would like to challenge the decision. If the umpire’s decision was found to be incorrect upon review, it is called a successful player review. Likewise, if the umpire had given a correct decision, this is termed as an unsuccessful player review.

During the Super Over, each team is allowed 1 unsuccessful player review.

This means, that a team can continue to challenge the umpire’s decision as long as the umpire is found to be wrong. However, the moment the umpire’s decision is found to be correct when reviewed by the player, the team will no longer have any more reviews left.

7. Super Over Has to be Played on the Same Cricket Pitch

It is easy for us to forget that a cricket pitch is often prepared for the specific type of a cricket match. A pitch for a Test Match is prepared differently from a pitch for an ODI or a T20 match.

However, the Super Over has to be played on the same pitch as the one that was used during the match.

8. Team that Scores Most Runs Wins the Super Over

The objective of playing the super over is to determine the winner. Thus, the team that scores the most runs is declared as the winner of the Super Over and also of the match. This is irrespective of the number of wickets each team loses in the Super Over.

This means, if Team A has scored 15 runs for 0 wickets in the super over, and Team B scores 16 runs for the loss of 1 wicket, Team B will still be a winner despite losing more wickets than Team A.

Furthermore, even though the result of the match is achieved, however, the records will state that the “Match Ended as a Tie – Team B won through a Super Over”.

What happens if a Super Over also Ends up in a Tie?

So, a Super Over ending up in a tie can be an interesting situation but not an impossible one! The rules behind this have also had a bit of history to it.

Until 2010, if a Super Over also ended in a Tie, then the team with more number of sixes during the match (not including the ones hit in a super over) was declared the winner.

Although there were no matches that were tied even after a Super Over, the rule was later changed in favor of the boundaries rather than sixes. Thus, the rule later became that if the scores were level even after a Super Over, the team that had scored more boundaries during the match would be declared the winner.

However, this specific part of the rule (winner being decided on the number of boundaries scored during the match) became a hot bed of debates and discussions after the 2019 World Cup Final Match ended in a Tie even after the Super Over! England was declared the winner for having scored more boundaries. ICC faced severe criticism for this rule.

Thus, in September 2019, ICC came out with amended rules for a Super Over. As per the latest rules, if a super over also ends in a tie, then the match will continue with more super overs until a winner is identified!

History of a Super Over

Super Overs have had a very brief history in international cricket. The Super Over was first introduced in T20 cricket in 2008. It replaced the “Bowl Out” method that was previously used to decide the winner of a tied match.

It is interesting to note that if a T20 match ends in a tie, a super over comes into play at all ICC tournaments even if the match played is not a knockout match. However, that is not the case for One Day International matches.

Super Over was first introduced for the ODIs first in 2011 during the ICC Cricket World Cup. However, the use was specifically reserved for the knockout rounds. In the 2011 ODI World Cup, a match between India and England ended in a tie and no super over was used as it was a group match.

Since then, different ODI World Cup have had a different rule for the Super Over. The ICC ODI World Cup in 2015, the Super Over was applicable only for the Finals and not for the knockout stages.

However, ICC reinstated the Super Over for the knockout stages for the ICC World Cup in 2019 held in England.

The Final of the 2019 World Cup Edition was the first time ever that a Super Over came into play during a One Day International Match in the Cricket History!

What is a Bowl Out? Is it the same as a Super Over?

A Bowl Out in Cricket is a method used for determining the winner of a limited-overs match. It works much like the penalty shootout in a football match. Five players from each team are supposed to hit the wickets by bowling alternatively to batsman-less stumps. In 2008, ICC replaced Bowl Out with a Super Over.

Although a Bowl Out is also a method used for determining a winner in a tied match, it is very much different from a Super Over. Watch the video below to understand how a bowl out in cricket worked –

A match between India and Pakistan that ended up in a tie was decided using a bowl out!

The bowl outs were first used in the domestic competition in England in 1991. However, the first-ever bowl out in an international match took place during a match between New Zealand and West Indies in 2006.

The rules of bowl out are a lot different from a Super Over. You can think of a bowl out like the penalty shootouts of a football match.

The bowl outs definitely provided a great entertainment value, however, many cricket pundits were not comfortable that a bowl out would decide the match. The primary point of contention was that a bowler’s capability to hit or miss the stumps should not decide a team’s fate of the match.

Thus, in 2008, ICC scrapped the bowl out methods for deciding the winner for the tied matches and settled for a super over instead.

As a result, there have only been a total of 3 bowl outs ever in the history of international cricket.

How many Matches have Ended with a Super Over?

There have been a total of 15 international matches (mens) that have ended with a Super Over as a decider.

14 of the 15 Super Overs have taken place during a T20 International Match

26 Dec 2008West Indies & New Zealand West Indies
28 Feb 2010New Zealand and Australia New Zealand
7 Sep 2012Pakistan and Australia Pakistan
27 Sep 2012Sri Lanka and New Zealand Sri Lanka
1 Oct 2012West Indies and New Zealand West Indies
30 Nov 2015England and Pakistan England
22 Jan 2019Qatar and Kuwait Qatar
19 Mar 2019South Africa and Sri Lanka South Africa
31 May 2019Jersey vs Guernsey Jersey
25 Jun 2019Zimbabwe vs Netherlands Zimbabwe
5 Jul 2019Qatar vs Kuwait Qatar
10 Nov 2019England vs New Zealand England
29 Jan 2020India vs New Zealand India
31 Jan 2020India vs New Zealand India

It is interesting to note that there has till date been only 1 Super Over ever in an ODI match. This was played between New Zealand and England in 2019.

Which Team has Played the Most Super Overs?

The credit for the team that has played the most Super Overs in Cricket goes to New Zealand!

The below table indicates the list of Super Overs played by the teams in International Cricket. Please note that this includes T20 and ODI matches.

List of Teams who have played the Most Super Overs in Cricket –

TeamSuper Overs PlayedWonLost
New Zealand817
West Indies220

As you can notice, New Zealand has played the most number of Super Overs in Cricket at the time of writing this post (July 2020).

Ironically, New Zealand has also lost the most number of Super Overs played by any team! They also are happen to have the second highest defeat rate of 87.5% when it comes to Super Overs! Only Australia, who has lost both the Super Overs that it has ever played has the worst defeat ratio!

England on the other hand have a perfect record and have the highest number of victories in Super Overs! What’s interesting is that England has also won the only Super Over ever played in the Women’s International Cricket. The match was played between England and Australia. Even with this match included, England has won all the Super Overs and Australia has lost all of their Super Overs!

Has a Super Over ever been Played in a Cricket World Cup?

Super Over has been played a total of 3 times in a cricket world cup match until 2019. Although there have been more matches that have ended up in a tie, however, since a super over is not played for tied ODI matches in the group stage, the number of super overs during the world cup is much lower.

A list of super overs played during a tied T20 or an ODI match

Teams InvolvedWorld CupYearWinner
Sri Lanka vs New ZealandT202012Sri Lanka
New Zealand vs West IndiesT202012West Indies
England vs New ZealandODI2019England

Interestingly, New Zealand is the only team that has been involved in all the Super Overs that have been played during a World Cup (T20 or ODI). New Zealand have lost all of them!

Which Super Over is Regarded as the best in Cricket History?

Many people consider the final match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between England and New Zealand as one of the best Super Overs in the cricket history thus far! It is partly because of the epic build-up of the match and the total topsy-turvy nature of the match.

I’ll let you watch the highlights of the Super Over to feel the excitement of the spectators and the commentators present on the ground!

Furthermore, the fact that the finals of a World Cup ended in a tie was just extraordinary! After such a long journey of about 2 months, it was difficult to decide the winner! What made it even more interesting was that not only did the match end up in a tie, even the Super Over ended up in a Tie!

If you are interested in the reliving the moment, watch the final over first (highly recommended), and then the Super Over below –

Incredible Final Over of the 2019 Cricket World Cup Final 2019

The Final over included a bit of controversy moment for the two teams when the ball went for a 4 overthrow runs after hitting the England batsman Ben Stokes.

Super Over 2019 World Cup Finals [England Innings]

Notice that even though England batted 2nd during the match, in the Super Over, England batted first.

Super Over 2019 World Cup Finals [New Zealand Innings]

Related Questions

Here are some of the other questions that you may have that are related to the Super Over

Is a New Ball Used in a Super Over?

During a Super Over, a new ball is not allowed. However, the bowling team can change the bowl that was being used during the match. The captain of the team bowling first can select the ball from a box of balls provided by the umpires. This box contains balls used during the match.

Furthermore, the team bowling last in the Super Over can either continue with the same ball used by the opposing team or choose to go with another ball. If another ball needs to be chosen, the captain will have to choose it from the box of balls provided by the umpire.

The team can also choose the ends from which they would like to bowl.

Are the Runs Scored and Wickets Taken counted in the Player’s Career Record?

The runs scored by the batsmen and wickets taken by the bowler during a Super Over do not get added in player’s personal runs and wickets career records.

It is similar to how the goals scored by a player during a penalty shootout don’t get counted as career goals of the players. Similarly, the runs, wickets, catches etc.. do not get counted in the players career tally.

Is there a Toss for a Super Over as well?

For a Super Over to be played, a coin toss is not required. This is because as per the rules of the Super Over, the team batting second during the actual match will need to bat first during the Super Over. Hence, there is no need to decide which team bats first. It is already pre-decided.

Shrot Katewa

Shrot is an avid cricket fan! He has played and endorsed the sport ever since he was in School. In fact, he played as a professional cricketer represented his state team in National Indoor Cricket Championship held in Pune, India. Shrot loves the game, loves talking to other people who play the game and share his learnings with other interested individuals. He is the founder of CricketMastery.com. This website is a culmination of his desire to help others understand this wonderful Game of Cricket!

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