Power play in Cricket, as the name suggests, was used to make the cricket matches more exciting and power-packed. In the early 1980s, ICC started using field restrictions to give more liberty to batsmen.
Power play (field restriction during the match) was thus developed. Earlier the test matches were played, but people complained of the long-lasting games and the boring structure. This introduced the idea of 50 over match. But, the 50 over matches were just the short version of the test match and had no such exciting rules.
The cricket field is divided into two parts. The first one, a 30-yard circle that is very close to the pitch, and only a single run can be taken when the ball is inside it. Outside the 30 yard circle till the boundary line, is where most of the runs are scored. According to earlier rules, five fielders were allowed to stand outside the 30-yard circle.
Power play rules restricted the number of fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle for some specified over. The powerplay changed the game in favor of batsman as now he has just fielders guarding the whole boundary line, and he can easily exploit this advantage. Now bowlers have to bowl in a manner that ball doesn’t go past the 30-yard circle or it would end up as a boundary
How did power plays apply?
The power play is applied differently in the limited-overs format. It is as follows:
1. In ODI: The first time a power play got introduce in an ODI was between England and Australia. There were a total of three power plays including a mandatory ten over powerplay at the start. The rest two power plays of five were for the bowling side when to use. But, the bowling side used both powerplays after the first ten over powerplay.
The powerplay rules were amended and either of powerplay 2 or 3 was played according to the batting side. This brought a sense of equality. But, if the batting side doesn’t choose any powerplay, it was itself applied at 36th over. This means all the powerplays had to be used before 41st over.
2. In T20s: Powerplays in T20s are very simple and justified. The first six over are mandatory powerplay overs and the power play two was of 4 overs chosen by batting side before the start of 15th above.
This evolution of power play has resulted in a near-perfect rule. Now it is easy for the batting side to choose the over he needs the fielding restriction.
The powerplay is a good idea?
Power plays are one of the best rules to make games more exciting and enjoyable. This rule allowed batsmen to be more liberal in selecting their shots and bowlers to be more careful about their line and length. There were many criticisms after the power play rule was made stating that this rule was unfair to the bowlers. But, gradually, people accepted and enjoyed this type of game.