Slow Over-Rate in Cricket: A Detailed Manual about the Interesting Rule

Take a read of this post as we explain everything about what slow over-rate means in cricket sport and its rules.

Have you ever wondered what a “slow over-rate” in cricket means? As a cricket fan, you might have frequently noticed the term “slow over-rate”. Most of the time, a team’s captain has been fined for slow over-rate.

The concept of slow over-rate in cricket was introduced to ensure the instantaneous pace of the game. The cricket officials have been taking initiatives for many years to make the game enjoyable and crisp for audiences in the best possible way.

It would be fascinating to delve into the knowledgeable facts about what a slow over-rate in cricket means, its causes, and the different types of penalties

What is a slow over-rate in Cricket?

Generally, an over rate is a fascinating term in cricket that refers to the number of overs bowled per hour during a match.

The overall time spent by a bowler to bowl a prescribed number of overs to the total number of overs bowled determines an over rate. For instance, if a team bowls 20 overs in 2 hours, then the over rate is 10 overs per hour.

Cricket is one such dynamic sport that is played on an allocated time basis. The slow over-rate in cricket prevents boring moments in a match.

The over rate varies according to different formats of cricket per innings:

  • Test Match: 90 overs per day
  • ODI match: 3.5 hours per innings
  • T20I match: 1.3 hours per innings

An ideal over rate per hour varies according to the different formats of cricket:

  • Test Match: 15 overs per hour
  • ODI match: 14.28 overs per hour
  • T20I match: 14.1 Overs per hour

When a team fails to bowl the total number of overs in an estimated time, cricket officials effectively implement a slow over rate. 

Causes of slow over-rate in cricket

Several main causes of slow over-rate in cricket lead to penalizing the team captains after the match:

1. Break Time for injury:

Most often, a long break time is provided in between the matches when any batsman or a bowler faces an injury. Interruptions in the flow of the game lead to delays and slow over-rates.

2. Technological reviews:

Umpires frequently opt for technological reviews such as the DRS (Decision Review System), Run-outs, or unfair delivery bowled by a bowler. Third-umpire reviews may cause unpredicted delays that result in a slow over-rate.

Occasionally, the demand for unwarranted appeals leads to an extended duration to determine the final outcome.

3. Fielding changes:

The bowling team’s captain regularly implements fielding changes according to the bowler and batsman’s strategies for playing cricket. Uncontrolled levels of changes in the fielding can cause delays in the match and lead to a slow over-rate.

4. Frequent Bowling Changes:

Most skippers commonly prefer for a new bowler to grab wickets instantly. Consequently, the new bowler takes a lot of time either to warm up or completely change the fielding according to his bowling style.

It becomes apparent that there will be a delay in the commencement of each over whenever a new bowler takes charge.

5. Discussion with other players:

Regular discussions with other players of the team can extend the match duration leading to a slow over-rate.

Teams defending a target often engage in a prolonged discussion between the skipper and players.

6. Fans entering the crease:

Sometimes, fans entering the crease having the intention of meeting their favorite players interrupt or break the flow of the match.

Most often, spectators throw bottles and other objects on the ground. This is another crucial reason that leads to the extended duration of the game and causes a slow over-rate.

Different Types of Penalties for a Slow over-rate in Cricket

The concept of slow over-rate has pressurized the team’s captain to a great extent.

Here are the different types of Penalties for a slow over-rate in cricket:

1. Deduction from the match fees:

The team’s captain experiences a deduction from the match fees. Usually, the fine amount varies depending on the format of the game, and the captain’s match fee. Also, the team’s captain will be fined based on the diverse severity of the offense:

  • First offense: The captain may be fined 20% of their match fees.
  • Second offense: The team’s skipper may be fined by deducting 40% of their match fees.
  • Third offense: The skipper may be fined by deducting 50% of their match fees.

2. Points Deduction:

Additionally, teams might face points deduction along with the deduction of their match fees for slow over-rate.

Additionally, teams might face points deduction along with the deduction of their match fees for slow over-rate.

For instance, during the World Test Championship cycle of 2019-21, the match between Australia and India on 29th December 2020 turned the fortunes of the Aussies upside down. The Australian cricket team incurred a loss of 4 points due to a slow over-rate. Unfortunately, the Aussies were unable to qualify for the 2021 World Test Championship finals.

As a result, the Australian team percentage declined from 70 to 69.2%. Earlier, Australia tallied New Zealand’s percentage before the slow over-rate penalty. The superior run rate of the Aussies would have enhanced their chances of qualifying for the finals in place of New Zealand by securing the second position.

3. Change in field restrictions:

In 2022, the ICC introduced a new rule for slow over-rate in cricket. According to the rule, if a team does not bowl the prescribed overs within the estimated time, an additional fielder will be placed within the 30-yard circle.

It becomes clear that the team’s skipper has to place four fielders outside the 30-yard circle rather than five.

4. ICC’s latest rule of 5- run penalty:

The ICC’s latest rule of 5-run penalty will be effective on a trial basis from December 2023 to April 2024.

Under this rule, a bowler should start the next over within 60 seconds of the preceding ones. If a bowler exceeds the 60-second time limit for the third time in an innings, the batting team will be awarded an additional 5 runs.

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