In limited-overs cricket, the number of fielders typically allowed outside the inner circle varies depending on the stage of the innings. The inner circle refers to the area closer to the batsman where fielders are positioned to prevent easy singles and boundaries. The number of fielders outside the inner circle is regulated by the fielding restrictions, which are enforced during specific phases of the game.
During the first powerplay, which is generally the initial phase of the innings, a maximum of two fielders are allowed outside the inner circle. The powerplay usually lasts for the first ten overs of an innings in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and the first six overs in Twenty20 (T20) matches. The intention of having fewer fielders outside the inner circle during the powerplay is to encourage aggressive batting and more scoring opportunities.
After the powerplay, a maximum of four fielders can be positioned outside the inner circle in ODIs and five fielders in T20 matches. This phase of the game is commonly known as the middle overs. It is a period where teams focus on consolidating their innings and building partnerships.
In the final stage of the innings, usually the last ten overs in ODIs and the last four overs in T20 matches, the number of fielders allowed outside the inner circle increases to a maximum of five in ODIs and six in T20s. This allows the batting team to have more freedom to score boundaries and set or chase a competitive total.
It's important to note that the specific fielding restrictions can be modified by the International Cricket Council (ICC) or the tournament organizers based on the format or specific rules of the competition. These restrictions aim to maintain a balance between bat and ball and make limited-overs cricket more engaging for players and spectators.
It is advisable to consult the latest playing conditions or official regulations for specific matches or tournaments to ensure accurate information about fielding restrictions in limited-overs cricket.