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Cricket is a bat-and-ball team sport. Many variations exist, with its most popular form played on an oval-shaped outdoor arena known as a cricket field at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard (20.12 m) long pitch that is the focus of the game. A game (or match) is contested between two teams of eleven players each. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the runs scored by the batting team. A run is scored by the striking batsman hitting the ball with his bat, running to the opposite end of the pitch and touching the crease there without being dismissed. The teams switch between batting and fielding at the end of an innings.
There are also variations in the length of a game of cricket. In professional cricket this ranges from a limit of 20 overs per side (Twenty20) to a game played over 5 days (Test cricket, which is the highest level of the game). Depending on the form of the match being played, there are different rules that govern how a game is won, lost, drawn or tied. The rules of two-innings games are known as the Laws of Cricket and maintained by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC); additional Standard Playing Conditions for Test matches and One Day Internationals augment these laws. In one version of Indoor Cricket, matches include just 6 players per side and include two 12-over innings.
Cricket was first documented as being played in southern England in the 16th century. By the end of the 18th century, it had developed to the point where it had become the national sport of England. The expansion of the British Empire led to cricket being played overseas and by the mid-19th century the first international matches were being held. The ICC is the game's governing body and currently has 105 member countries. Cricket is most popular in the Test playing countries.