Men's: The Ford Trophy is played annually between six teams based upon the first-class associations: Northern Knights, Auckland Aces, Central Stags, Wellington Firebirds, Canterbury Wizards and Otago Volts. Its name and format have changed over the years; it was first played in 1971-72 as the "New Zealand Motor Corporation Knockout Tournament". It is now played as a double round-robin (home and away) with team 1 gaining direct entry to the final and teams 2 and 3 contesting a semi-final. Games are played to ODI rules with many day-night matches.
The t20 Blast is a Twenty20 cricket league in England and Wales run by the ECB since 2014. The league consists of the 18 first-class county teams divided into two divisions of nine teams each, the top four teams from each group entering the knockout stage. The inaugural tournament was won by Birmingham Bears. This tournament replaced the Friends Life t20 as the premier domestic Twenty20 competition of England and Wales.
Test cricket is the form of the sport of cricket with the longest match duration, and is considered the game's highest standard. Test matches are played between national representative teams that have been granted ‘Test status’, as determined and conferred by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The term Test stems from the fact that the long, gruelling matches are mentally and physically testing. Two teams of 11 players each play a four-innings match, which may last up to five days (or longer in some historical cases). It is generally considered the most complete examination of a team's endurance and ability.
Two rival English tours of Australia were proposed in the early months of 1877, with James Lillywhite campaigning for a professional tour and Fred Grace for an amateur one. Grace's tour fell through and it was Lillywhite's team that toured New Zealand and Australia in 1876–77. Two matches against a combined Australian XI were later classified as the first official Test matches. The first match was won by Australia, by 45 runs and the second by England. After reciprocal tours established a pattern of international cricket, The Ashes was established as a competition during the Australian tour of England in 1882. Surprisingly beaten, a mock obituary of English cricket was published in the Sporting Times the following day: the phrase "The body shall be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia" prompted the subsequent creation of the Ashes urn. The series of 1884–85 was the first to be held over five matches: Shaw, writing in 1901, considered the side to be "the best ever to have left England".
The idea for a one-day, limited 50-over cricket tournament, was first played in the inaugural match of the All India Pooja Cricket Tournament in 1951 in the small town of Thrippunithura in Kerala. It is thought to be the brain child of KV Kelappan Thampuran, a former cricketer and the first Secretary of the Kerala Cricket Association. The one day limited over cricket game was later adapted and played between English county teams for the first instance on 2 May 1962. Leicestershire beat Derbyshire and Northamptonshire beat Nottinghamshire over 65 overs in the "Midlands Knock-Out Cup", which Northamptonshire went on to win a week later. The following year, the first full-scale one-day competition between first-class teams was played, the knock-out Gillette Cup, won by Sussex. The number of overs was reduced to 60 for the 1964 season. League one-day cricket also began in England, when the John Player Sunday League was started in 1969 with forty over matches. Both these competitions have continued every season since inauguration, though the sponsorship has changed. There is now one 50 over competition, which is called the Royal London One-Day Cup.
All four innings are complete. The team batting fourth are all out before overtaking the other team, usually before matching the other team's score. The team that batted third are the winners by a margin equal to the difference in the aggregate runs scored by the two teams (for example, "Team A won by 95 runs"). Very rarely (in over 2,000 Test matches played, it has only happened twice) the scores can end level, resulting in a tie.
20 teams compete in the Premier Limited-Overs Tournament, which is an expansion from 16 in the last season. Games are played over 50 overs per side, and the teams are divided into two groups, where each team meets the other once over a period of a month. The four top teams from each group qualify for the quarter-finals, and there is then a direct knock-out system until a winner is found after three knock-out stages. The competing teams are: