Cricket World Cup Championship for Dummies

Sarah BraunsteinCorrespondent IApril 27, 2007
Cricket World Cup Championship: What it is, who's playing, where to watch and how to play

If you're not a cricket fan, the most you've probably heard about the Cricket World Cup (CWC) is that Pakistan's coach, Bob Woolmer, was mysteriously found dead after his team lost to Ireland.  For those of you just tuning it, 16 teams have been playing in the West Indies since March 13, and tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM, Australia (the defending champions) will go against Sri Lanka in the championships.
If you know nothing about the game, but you like the idea of drinking beer and watching sports early on a Saturday morning, here are some important things to know about Cricket (more extensive information is available via the BBC): 
 1.    The cricket world cup is "One Day Cricket" (as opposed to "Test Cricket" in which one match can last up to five days).  In one day cricket each team has the opportunity to hit 300 balls (50 overs; one over = 6 balls = one at bat)
2.    On the field are two sets of wickets. A wicket is a set of wooden stumps with small pieces of wood, called bails, resting on top.  There are always two batsmen, one at each wicket.
3.    The person who throws the ball is the bowler, not the pitcher (knowing this is like knowing how to pronounce Houston St.). The batsman tries to hit the ball and switch places with his teammate at the other wicket.
4.    You get one run if you and your teammate reach each other's wicket before the ball hits either the wicket or the player, you can also score if the ball crosses the boundary in mid-air (6 runs) or after a bounce (4 runs)
5.    There are four ways to get out in cricket.
a.    The bowler hits the wicket with the ball.
b.    The batsman kicks the ball with his legs (when it would have likely hit the wicket)
c.    A fielder catches the ball before it hits the ground
d.    The ball is fielded, thrown and hits the other wicket before the batsman reaches them
6.    According to the BBC, a good score in one day cricket is between 250 and 300 runs.
There are two numbers in a cricket score. The first represents the number of runs a team has scored and second represents the number of outs. If there is no second number (all out) it means that all ten batsmen have gotten out or all the overs have been thrown.  
Interesting story lines:
Russell Arnold , a left-handed batsman for Sri Lanka will retire after the CWC final as will Glenn McGrath , a right-handed bowler for Australia.
Read this article from the International Herald Tribune about the history between the two teams, or this one from Bloomberg about who is favored to win. 
If you really fall head over heels for the game and want to play, you can contact the United States of America Cricket Association. Their mission is, "to promote the game of Cricket at all levels in the United States of America, develop national teams that will be competitive and successful in international competitions and to become the symbol of excellence in sports throughout the world."