Cricket is a bat-and-ballsport contested by two teams, usually of eleven players each. A cricket match is played on a grass field, roughly oval in shape, in the centre of which is a flat strip of ground 22 yards (20.12 m) long, called a cricket pitch. A wicket, usually made of wood, is placed at each end of the pitch.
The bowler, a player from the fielding team, bowls a hard, fist-sized cricket ball from the vicinity of one wicket towards the other. The ball usually bounces once before reaching the batsman, a player from the opposing team. In defence of the wicket, the batsman plays the ball with a wooden cricket bat. Meanwhile, the other members of the bowler's team stand in various positions around the field as fielders, players who retrieve the ball in an effort to stop the batsman scoring runs, and if possible to get him or her out. The batsman — if he or she does not get out — may run between the wickets, exchanging ends with a second batsman (the "non-striker"), who has been waiting near the bowler's wicket. Each completed exchange of ends scores one run. Runs are also scored if the batsman hits the ball to the boundary of the playing area. The match is won by the team that scores more runs.
The sport is followed with passion in many different parts of the world. It has occasionally given rise to diplomatic outrage; notoriously the Basil D'Oliveira affair (which led to the banning of South Africa from sporting events) and the Bodyline series, played between England and Australia in the early 1930s (which led to a temporary deterioration in relations between the two countries).