A cricket oval in Wallendbeen, New South Wales with a white picket fence, traditionally used as the boundary

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.

Briefly, if the ball is struck by the batter and rolls or bounces over the boundary (or just touches it) it is known as a "four", and scores four runs, whereas if it flies over (or touches) the boundary, without touching the ground before that, it is called a "six", and scores six runs. There are rules covering every possible situation, including the fairly common one when a fielder is in the air beyond the boundary when he or she catches or strikes the ball with his or her hand or another part of the body.

Edge of the field

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 or flags 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 centre of the field in men's international cricket,[1] and at least 180 feet (55 m) from the centre of the field in women's international cricket.[2]

A traditional boundary rope

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.[3][4]

Scoring runs

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.[5]

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."[citation needed]

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.

A batsman scoring a six during a game at Chrishall, Essex

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.[citation needed] 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

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, if 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

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.[6]

Prior to 1910, six runs were only awarded for hits out of the ground,[7] with custom in Australia to award five runs for clearing the boundary.[8]



Shahid Afridi holds the world record for most sixes in ODIs.

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. Ben Stokes currently holds the record for most sixes in a Test career with 124.[9] Shahid Afridi holds the record for most sixes in an ODI career (351 in 398 matches, 369 innings, on his retirement).[10]

Official records for the longest six do not exist due to the difficulties of accurately measuring such distances, there is some evidence to show Australia’s Brett Lee struck a six 130-135 meters against West Indies in a Test match at Gabba in 2005, although he used a carbon-fibre reinforced bat which was later banned.[6]

At the MCG a yellow seat marks the biggest six hit at the ground.

The record for the most sixes in a Test match is 37, which occurred during a 2019 Test match between India and South Africa in Visakhapatnam.[11]

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.[12] The equivalent record in Twenty20 Internationals was set at Centurion Park, 35 sixes were hit during a match between South Africa and West Indies on 26 March 2023.[13]

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.[14]

Six or more sixes in an over

Six or more sixes in an over in top level domestic cricket

As of November 2022, this feat has occurred seven times in top level domestic cricket.[15][16]

Date Batsman Team Bowler Opposition Venue Format Tournament/series Notes
31 August 1968 Garfield Sobers Nottinghamshire Malcolm Nash Glamorgan St Helen's, Swansea FC 1968 County Championship [1]
10 January 1985 Ravi Shastri Bombay Tilak Raj Baroda Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai FC 1984–85 Ranji Trophy [2]
23 July 2017 Ross Whiteley Worcestershire Karl Carver Yorkshire Headingley, Leeds T20 2017 NatWest T20 Blast [3]
14 October 2018 Hazratullah Zazai Kabul Zwanan Abdullah Mazari Balkh Legends Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah T20 Gulbahar Afghanistan Premier League T20 2018 [4]
5 January 2020 Leo Carter Canterbury Kings Anton Devcich Northern Knights Hagley Oval, Christchurch T20 2019–20 Dream11 Super Smash [5]
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 [6]
28 November 2022 Ruturaj Gaikwad Maharashtra Shiva Singh Uttar Pradesh Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad List A 2022–23 Vijay Hazare Trophy [7]

Six sixes in an over in international cricket

As of September 2021, this feat has occurred four times in international cricket.[17] 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, Basseterre ODI (2537) 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup [8]
19 September 2007 Yuvraj Singh  India Stuart Broad  England Kingsmead, Durban T20I (40) 2007 ICC World Twenty20 [9]
3 March 2021 Kieron Pollard  West Indies Akila Dananjaya  Sri Lanka Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua and Barbuda T20I (1126) Sri Lankan cricket team in the West Indies in 2020–21 [10]
9 September 2021 Jaskaran Malhotra  United States Gaudi Toka  Papua New Guinea Oman Cricket Academy Ground, Muscat ODI (4320) Papua New Guinean cricket team in Oman in 2021–22 [11]


  1. ^ On 31 August 1968, Sobers became the first man to hit six sixes off a single six-ball over in first-class cricket.[18] The over was bowled by Malcolm Nash in Nottinghamshire's first innings against Glamorgan at St Helen's in Swansea. Nash was a seam bowler but decided to try his arm at spin bowling.[19] This achievement was caught on film.[20]
  2. ^ On 10 January 1985, Bombay's Shastri equalled Sobers' record of hitting six sixes in an over in first-class cricket, off the bowling of Baroda's Tilak Raj, at the Wankhede.[21]
  3. ^ On 23 July 2017, Worcestershire's Whiteley hit six sixes off six legal deliveries plus one wide to take the total number of runs in that over to 37 off bowler Karl Carver of Yorkshire at Headingley during a NatWest T20 Blast match.[22]
  4. ^ On 14 October 2018, Zazai hit six sixes in an over off the bowling of Abdullah Mazari for Kabul Zwanan in a match against Balkh Legends in the 2018–19 Afghanistan Premier League, in Sharjah.[23]
  5. ^ On 5 January 2020, in the 2019–20 Super Smash match between Canterbury and Northern Districts in Christchurch, Carter hit six sixes in one over off the bowling of Anton Devcich.[24]
  6. ^ On 29 March 2021, in the 2020–21 Major Clubs Limited Over Tournament match between Sri Lanka Army Sports Club and Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club at the Army Ground in Panagoda, Army Sports Club's captain Perera hit six sixes in one over off the bowling of Dilhan Cooray.[25] This was the second instance in a List A match, and first in a domestic match.
  7. ^ On 28 November 2022, Gaikwad became the first batsman to hit seven sixes in an over, for Maharashtra against Uttar Pradesh in the second quarter-final of the Vijay Hazare Trophy in Ahmedabad. The bowler was Shiva Singh.[26]
  8. ^ On 16 March 2007, in a match between South Africa and the Netherlands in Basseterre at the 2007 Cricket World Cup, Gibbs became the first person to hit six sixes off an over in a One Day International match. The over was bowled by Dutch leg-spinner Daan van Bunge.[27]
  9. ^ On 19 September 2007, during a match between England and India in the inaugural T20 World Cup, Singh became the first batsman to hit six sixes in an over in a T20 International, in an over bowled by Stuart Broad.[28]
  10. ^ On 3 March 2021, West Indian captain Pollard hit six sixes in an over off the bowling of Akila Dananjaya in the first T20I between Sri Lanka and the West Indies at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.[29]
  11. ^ On 9 September 2021, Malhotra of the United States hit six sixes in one over, off the bowling of Papua New Guinea's Gaudi Toka in Muscat, becoming the second cricketer to achieve this in ODIs. He became the first USA batsman to make an ODI century.[30]

See also


  1. ^ "Cricket Rules and Regulations | ICC Rules of Cricket". www.icc-cricket.com. Archived from the original on 1 July 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2021. [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."
  2. ^ "Cricket Rules and Regulations | ICC Rules of Cricket". www.icc-cricket.com. Retrieved 26 November 2022. [...] no boundary should be shorter than 60 yards (54.86 metres) from the centre of the pitch to be used.
  3. ^ "Explanation of the changes between the 3rd Edition and 4th Edition of the 2000 Code of the Laws of Cricket" (PDF).
  4. ^ "October 2010 Laws of cricket changes – Ball over the boundary". Lord's Cricket Ground. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  5. ^ "{% DocumentName %} Law | MCC". www.lords.org. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  6. ^ a b Davis, Charles. "The longest shot". Cricinfo. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  7. ^ "Ask Steven", 23 January 2006 Retrieved 7 July 2011
  8. ^ "Just not cricket". ESPN Cricinfo. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Records – Test matches – Batting records – Most sixes in career – ESPN Cricinfo". Cricinfo.
  10. ^ "Records – One-Day Internationals – Batting records – Most sixes in career – ESPN Cricinfo". Cricinfo.
  11. ^ "Statsguru - Tests - Match sorted by sixes scored". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  12. ^ "Statsguru - ODIs - Match sorted by sixes scored". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  13. ^ "Statsguru - T20Is - Match sorted by sixes scored". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  14. ^ "West Indies' Chris Gayle creates Test history with opening six". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  15. ^ Norris, Sam (24 May 2019). "The batsmen to have hit six sixes in an over". William Hill. Archived from the original on 18 October 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Gaikwad smashes List A record with seven sixes in 43-run over". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 28 November 2022.
  17. ^ "USA's Jaskaran Malhotra smashes 6 sixes in an over; joins Yuvraj, Gibbs, Pollard in elite list". Hindustan Times. 10 September 2021.
  18. ^ Norman Preston. "Notes by the Editor". Wisden 1969. Cricinfo.
  19. ^ "Glamorgan's Malcolm Nash, who Garry Sobers hit for six sixes in an over, dies at 74". ESPNcricinfo.com. 1 August 2019. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  20. ^ Garfield Sobers' six sixes in an over, Glam. v Notts., Swansea, 1968. YouTube. Archived from the original on 22 December 2021.
  21. ^ "10th January 1985: Ravi Shastri Hits Six Sixes In an Over". News18. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  22. ^ PA Sport (1 August 2018). "NatWest T20 Blast: Ross Whiteley hits six sixes in over for Worcester". Sky Sports. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  23. ^ "'Goodness me!' - Zazai hits six sixes in over". BBC Sport. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  24. ^ "Super Smash: Leo Carter smashes 6 sixes in an over as Kings stun Knights". Stuff. 6 January 2020. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  25. ^ "Thisara Perera becomes first Sri Lankan to smash six sixes in an over". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  26. ^ "Watch: Ruturaj Gaikwad smashes 7 sixes in an over to script unthinkable world record during colossal 220-run knock". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  27. ^ "Gibbs matches Sobers in easy win". BBC Sport. 16 March 2007.
  28. ^ "Ten years of Yuvraj Singh's six sixes". Times of India. 19 September 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  29. ^ "In pictures: How Kieron Pollard hit six sixes in an over". ESPNcricinfo. 4 March 2021. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  30. ^ "USA batter smashes 6 sixes in an over in ODI". Penbugs. 9 September 2021. Retrieved 9 September 2021.