What is the 250-minute rule in cricket?

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is the official governing body of professional cricket globally. It hosts major cricket tournaments like the 50-over World Cup, T20 World Cup, World Test Championship, and the Champions Trophy.

Each tournament features the major test cricket playing nations and member nations of the International Cricket Council that qualify for the main event through regional tournaments. A tournament hosted by the International Cricket Council is likely to be held across a full-month.

The scheduling of these tournaments is such that a total of four teams reach the knockout stages (semifinals and final) based on their performance in the league stages. Since cricket is an outdoor sport, a match can always face the threat of being called off due to rain or any other environmental factors.

An International Cricket Council tournament is of high stature. The organizers try their best that no match, especially the knockout rounds are abandoned. Hence, the schedule is such, that if weather plays spoilsport on the day of the final, then a reserve day is allotted for the match to take place. If the match has to be called off on the reserve day as well, then the finalists share the trophy.

Unlike the final, the two semifinals do not have a full reserve day, but rather follow a 250-minute rule. This was first implemented at the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup. The first semifinal had 60 minutes of reserve time after the official match time on that day, and 190 minutes on the subsequent day. The second semi-final on the other hand, had a full quota of 250 minutes reserve time available on the scheduled day.

This rule was passed to ensure that the teams who make it to the final get enough rest ahead of the final. While the rule indeed has faced criticism with regards to player fatigue, the International Cricket Council has stuck to their belief of ensuring rest for the players ahead of the final and for spectators to witness a knockout match.

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