Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Bat-and-ball games

Bat-and-ball games (or safe haven games) are field games played by two opposing teams, in which the action starts when the defending team throws a ball at a dedicated player of the attacking team, who tries to hit it with a bat and run between various safe areas in the field to score runs (points), while the defending team can use the ball in various ways against the attacking team's players to force them off the field when they are not in safe zones, and thus prevent them from further scoring. The best known modern bat-and-ball games are cricket and baseball, with common roots in the 18th-century games played in England.

The teams alternate between "batting" (offensive) role, sometimes called "in at bat" or simply in, and "fielding" (defensive role), also called "out in the field" or out. Only the batting team may score, but teams have equal opportunities in both roles. The game is counted rather than timed. The action starts when a player on the fielding team puts the ball in play with a delivery whose restriction depends on the game. A player on the batting team attempts to strike the delivered ball, commonly with a "bat", which is a club governed by the rules of the game. The batter generally has an obligation to hit certain balls that are delivered within their reach (i.e. balls aimed at a designated area, known as the strike zone or wicket), and must hit the ball so that it is not caught by a fielder before it bounces. After striking the ball, the batter may become a runner trying to reach a safe haven or "base"/"ground". While in contact with a base, the runner is safe from the fielding team and in a position to score runs. Leaving a safe haven places the runner in danger of being put out (eliminated). The teams switch roles when the fielding team puts enough of the batting team's players out, which varies by game.

In modern baseball, the fielders put three players out. In cricket, they "dismiss" all players but one, though in some forms of cricket, there is also a limit on the number of legal deliveries that the fielding team needs to perform, such that they can become the batting team without getting anyone out. In many forms of early American baseball (townball, roundball), a single out ended the inning. Some games permit multiple runners and some have multiple bases to run in sequence. Batting may occur, and running begin (and potentially end), at one of the bases. The movement between those "safe havens" is governed by the rules of the particular sport. The game ends when the losing team has completed a certain number of innings (batting turns).

Some variations of bat-and-ball games do not feature bats, with the batter instead using their body to hit the ball. Other variations give the batter possession of the ball at the start of each play, eliminating the defensive team's role in starting the action.

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