In cricket, the boundary is the perimeter of a playing field. It is also the term given to a scoring shot where the ball is hit to, or beyond, that perimeter, which generally earns four or six runs for the batting team.
The boundary is the edge of the playing field, or the physical object (often a rope) marking the edge of the field. In low-level matches, a series of plastic cones are sometimes used. Since the early 2000s, the boundaries at professional matches are often a series of padded cushions carrying sponsors' logos strung along a rope. If one of these is accidentally moved during play (such as by a fielder sliding into the rope in an attempt to stop the ball) the boundary is considered to remain at the point where that object first stood. The boundary is at least 195 feet (59 m) from the center of the field in men's international cricket.
When the cricket ball is inside the boundary, it is live. When the ball is touching the boundary, grounded beyond the boundary, or being touched by a fielder who is himself either touching the boundary or grounded beyond it, it is dead and the batting side usually scores four or six runs for hitting the ball over the boundary. Because of this rule, fielders near the boundary attempting to intercept the ball while running or diving often flick the ball back in to the field of play rather than pick it up directly, because their momentum could carry them beyond the rope while holding the ball. They then return to the field to pick the ball up and throw it back to the bowler.
A law change in 2010 declared that a fielder could not jump from behind the boundary and, while airborne, parry the ball back on to the field.
A boundary is the scoring of four or six runs from a single delivery, with the ball having left the field, and its first bounce having occurred either entirely within the playing field (in the case of four runs) or not (six runs); these events are known as a four or a six respectively.
Occasionally there is an erroneous use of the term boundary as a synonym for a "four". For example, sometimes commentators say such as "There were seven boundaries and three sixes in the innings." The correct terminology would be "There were ten boundaries in the innings of which seven were fours and three were sixes."
When this happens the runs are automatically added to the batsman's and his team's score and the ball becomes dead. If the ball did not touch the bat or a hand holding the bat, four runs are scored as the relevant type of extra instead; six runs cannot be scored as extras, even if the ball clears the boundary, which is in any case extremely unlikely.
Any runs the batsmen completed by running before the ball reached the edge of the field do not count, unless they are greater than the number of runs that would be scored by the boundary, in which case it is the runs from the boundary that are discounted.
The scoring of a four or six by a good aggressive shot displays a certain amount of mastery by the batsman over the bowler, and is usually greeted by applause from the spectators. Fours resulting from an edged stroke, or from a shot that did not come off as the batsman intended, are considered bad luck to the bowler. As a batsman plays himself in and becomes more confident as his innings progresses, the proportion of his runs scored in boundaries often rises.
An average first-class match usually sees between 50 and 150 boundary fours. Sixes are less common, and usually fewer than 10 (and sometimes none) will be scored in the course of a match.
The Laws allow for captains to change the boundary allowances (number of runs scored through either type of boundary) through a pre-match agreement.
Four runs are scored if the ball bounces, or rolls along the ground, before touching or going over the edge of the field. If it does not touch the edge of the field, it must touch the ground beyond it. For example, a batsman hits the ball and it bounces before the boundary and carries over the boundary in flight, a fielder can still bring the ball back into the field of play as long as any part of the fielder's body does not touch the ground outside of the boundary.
Four runs are scored as overthrows if a fielder gathers the ball and then throws it so that no other fielder can gather it before it reaches the boundary. In this case, the batsman who hit the ball scores however many runs the batsmen had run up to that time, plus four additional runs, and it is counted as a boundary. If the ball has not come off the bat or hand holding the bat, then the runs are classified as 'extras' and are added to the team's score but not to the score of any individual batsman.
Four runs (or more) can also be scored by hitting the ball into the outfield and running between the wickets. Four runs scored in this way is referred to as an "all run four" and is not counted as a boundary.
Six runs are scored if the ball does not bounce before passing over the boundary in the air, and then touches the boundary or the ground beyond it.
Prior to 1910, six runs were only awarded for hits out of the ground, with five runs awarded for clearing the boundary.
The record for most sixes in a Test match innings is 12, which was achieved by Pakistani all-rounder Wasim Akram during an innings of 257 not out against Zimbabwe in October 1996 at Sheikhupura. The One Day International record for most sixes hit in an innings is held by Eoin Morgan, who hit 17 sixes against Afghanistan at Old Trafford on 18 June 2019 in his innings of 148 off 71 balls. Brendon McCullum currently holds the record for most sixes in a Test career with 107. Shahid Afridi holds the record for most sixes in an ODI career (351 in 398 matches, 369 innings, on his retirement).
The record for the most sixes in a Test match is 27, which occurred during a 2006 Test match between Pakistan and India at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad. In their first innings, Pakistan hit eleven sixes. India hit nine in their first innings. Pakistan hit seven more sixes in their second innings.
The record for most sixes in a One Day International is 46, which was achieved in a match between West Indies and England at St George's on 27 February 2019. England hit 24 and West Indies hit 22 sixes. The equivalent record in Twenty20 Internationals was set on the AMI Stadium, 24 sixes were hit during the Twenty20 International match between India and New Zealand on 25 February 2009.
In 2012, during the First Test against Bangladesh in Dhaka, West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle became the first player to hit a six off the first ball in a Test cricket match.
As of March 2021, this feat has occurred six times in top level domestic cricket.
|31 August 1968||Garfield Sobers||Nottinghamshire||Malcolm Nash||Glamorgan||St Helen's||FC||1968 County Championship|||
|10 January 1985||Ravi Shastri||Bombay||Tilak Raj||Baroda||Wankhede Stadium||FC||1984–85 Ranji Trophy|||
|23 July 2017||Ross Whiteley||Worcestershire||Karl Carver||Yorkshire||Headingley||T20||2017 NatWest T20 Blast|||
|14 October 2018||Hazratullah Zazai||Kabul Zwanan||Abdullah Mazari||Balkh Legends||Sharjah Cricket Stadium||T20||Gulbahar Afghanistan Premier League T20 2018|||
|5 January 2020||Leo Carter||Canterbury Kings||Anton Devcich||Northern Knights||Hagley Oval||T20||2019–20 Dream11 Super Smash|||
|29 March 2021||Thisara Perera||Sri Lanka Army Sports Club||Dilhan Cooray||Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club||Army Ground, Panagoda||List A||2020–21 Major Clubs Limited Over Tournament|||
As of September 2021, this feat has occurred four times in international cricket. No batsman has achieved this feat in Tests.
|Date||Batsman||Team||Bowler||Opposition||Venue||Format (match number)||Tournament/series||Notes|
|16 March 2007||Herschelle Gibbs||South Africa||Daan van Bunge||Netherlands||Warner Park Stadium||ODI (2537)||2007 ICC Cricket World Cup|||
|19 September 2007||Yuvraj Singh||India||Stuart Broad||England||Kingsmead||T20I (40)||2007 ICC World Twenty20|||
|3 March 2021||Kieron Pollard||West Indies||Akila Dananjaya||Sri Lanka||Coolidge Cricket Ground||T20I (1126)||Sri Lankan cricket team in the West Indies in 2020–21|||
|9 September 2021||Jaskaran Malhotra||United States||Gaudi Toka||Papua New Guinea||Oman Cricket Academy Ground||ODI (4320)||Papua New Guinean cricket team in Oman in 2021–22|||
[Law 19.1.3 of the Test Match Playing Conditions] "... no boundary should be shorter than 65 yards (59.43 meters) from the centre of the pitch to be used."