The primary goal in cricket is taking wickets. (getting batsmen out) There are a few different ways of accomplishing this, most of them center on the wickets(the 3 posts) at each ind of the pitch. The bowler (think pitcher) is trying to knock over the wicket and the batsman tries to stop him. If the ball gets past the batsman and knocks over the wicket, the batsman is out.
The batsmen stands in front of the wicket, more or less, and at some point in the games history someone realized that wearing pads on your legs would prevent a lot of broken shins. With this protection, it would be very tempting to just block the wicket with your legs. This is obviously unfair, so there is a rule that says if the ball hist your legs and would have hit the wicket, you are still out. This is called Leg Before Wicket(or LBW). It is slightly more complicated than this simple summary, but that is the gist of it.
The third way of getting a batsman out is for the fielding team to knock over a wicket while a batman is running across the pitch. There is a white line at each end that the batsman must be behind. For this rule, the bat is considered to be a part of the batsman. (that’s right, they run with their bat) The other trick to this rule is that the batsman(or bat) must be on the ground and behind, not on, the line. If the fielding team manages to do this, the batsman on that end is out.
The last way to get someone out is to catch the ball in the air after the batsman has hit it. This is just like in baseball. The slight difference is that in cricket there are times when fielders are placed ridiculously close to the batsman (some of these positions are actually called “Silly”) and so there is a lot more concern with slight contact with the bat. I know that any contact with the bat is still important in baseball, but trust me it is an issue much, much more often in Cricket.
So that is a quick summary of how the fielding team takes wickets. The goal is to take 10 wickets in an innings, which puts the batting side out. After that, the teams trade off and the fielding side bats, or if it is the last innings, the game ends. In my next post, I will describe the basics of bowling.