What is an Innings in Cricket? – How Many Innings there are in a Cricket Game?

It’s necessary to go back to basics at times and in this article I’m going to talk about an innings. What is it and how does an innings slot into a game of cricket?

What is an Innings?

An innings is a specific section within a cricket match. A team innings is the division within a game where the team takes a turn to bat.

An innings can also belong to an individual. In this context, it refers to the period in which a batsman is batting.

How Long is an Innings?

The answer to that question depends on the format of the game. If it’s a limited overs match, a team innings can last for 50 Overs in One Day Internationals and 20 Overs in T20 games.

In test matches and other first class games, there is no limit in terms of overs. These games are timed and, in the case of tests, they are scheduled to last for five days.

When Does an Innings End?

There are a number of ways in which an innings can come to an end. I’ll start with a team innings first. If it’s a limited overs match, the innings will usually end when a side uses up its allocation of overs. Remember, they have a maximum of 20 Overs in T20 cricket and 50 Overs in other one day games.

A team innings can also come to an end if the batting team loses all ten wickets.

In first class cricket, including test matches, time is the most relevant factor. An innings can end when the close of play is called on the final day. Alternatively, there will be a conclusion of innings when the team loses all ten of its wickets.

In first class cricket, teams have the option to declare if they feel that they have scored enough runs. When a captain declares, a team innings comes to an end.


When a team is chasing down a total, the innings can also come to an end when the side reaches their target. The game is finished and the innings will therefore end at the same time. This principle applies to all forms of cricket.

For individual players, the scenarios are similar: Their innings can end when they are dismissed by the fielding team. Alternatively, in one day cricket, that innings can conclude when the team’s allocation of overs is complete.

If the team is batting second in any form of cricket and they reach their target, the innings of each individual batter will come to an end.

In test and first class cricket, batsmen’s innings can finish when close of play is called on the final day. Also, there is that option for the batting side to declare. If a declaration is made, the batting team’s innings will conclude at that point.

How Many Innings are in Cricket?

There is a difference between first class and limited overs cricket. If this is a one day game such as a 50 Over match or a T20, each team is allocated just one innings. In test matches and all first class games, there is the potential for each team to play two innings. In those first class games, weather could play a part and reduce time in the match. In these scenarios, it has been the case that there is only enough scope for one or both teams to play one completed innings.

You may have heard the term ‘winning by an innings’. This type of result can only happen in test matches and other forms of first class cricket.

Let’s say Team A bats first and scores 200 runs in their first innings. Team B now bats and scores 600 runs. Team A bats again and scores 300. Team A hasn’t overtaken Team B and the match will end at this point.

In this type of scenario, Team B has won by an innings and they will only need to bat once.

As for individual players, the amount of innings that they can play will follow these patterns. In all forms of one day cricket, they have the capacity to bat just once.

In first class cricket, including test matches, they can bat a maximum of two times but there may be occasions when they will only bat once.


Closing Thoughts

The concept of an innings seems fairly simple at first. The definition is certainly straightforward and it’s really just a period of time when a player or a team bats.

It either ends when a team or an individual has been dismissed or when they have chased down a target, but it can get complicated from there. The question of when an innings comes to an end can depend on a number of factors including whether or not this is a limited overs game.

In this round up, I’ve looked to simplify things by breaking it down and the question as to what is an innings should be easy to understand.