What is an eliminator?
It is the tiebreaker for Twenty20 internationals. In July 2008 the eliminator, also referred to as the Super Over, replaced the bowl-out as the official tool to separate teams that finish at the same score at the end of a completed Twenty20 game.
How does it work?
Both the teams get to play one over each after the match, and the team that wins that contest is the winner: in a way it's a One1 to resolve a Twenty20 tie.
How many players take part in the eliminator?
Both sides have to nominate three batsmen and one bowler each for the eliminator. A team can be bowled out in the traditional sense, if it loses two wickets. The bowler and batsmen, once nominated, cannot be changed. All the fielders take a part in the contest. The eliminator is played with the same fielding restrictions as those in place for the last over of a normal Twenty20 intenrational.
Is there a toss for the eliminator?
No. The team that batted second in the actual match bats first.
Is there a change in any of the other ground conditions?
The eliminator - conditions permitting - has to played on the same day, on the same pitch, with the umpires standing at the same ends as they finished the match, and with the ball that was in use at the end of the second innings. Both eliminator innings are played from the same end, which is chosen by the umpires. The usual cricket rules governing no-balls, wides etc apply to the eliminator overs.
What if the teams are tied at the end of the eliminator?
In case of a second tie, the total number of sixes hit - in the main match and in the eliminator - becomes the tiebreaker. If the teams are still tied, the team that has hit the most boundaries - fours and sixes - in the eliminator is declared the winner.
Has the need arisen for the eliminator so far?
Yes, the recent Twenty20 between New Zealand and West Indies in Auckland was a tie, and West Indies won the match after the eliminator. Chasing New Zealand's 155 for 7, West Indies managed 155 for 8. In the tiebreaker, Chris Gayle hit three sixes and a four to take West Indies to 25 for 1. Jacob Oram and Ross Taylor managed a six each, but both got out with two balls remaining.
Is the system here to stay?
The first experiment with the eliminator highlighted some inherent flaws. In the main match, both teams had managed seven sixes each. When New Zealand were bowled out in the eliminator, they had hit two sixes, as opposed to West Indies' three sixes and a four. Since they had two balls remaining and were 10 short of West Indies' total, New Zealand could well have tied the eliminator with a six and a four off those two deliveries - rendering the game a tie even after the eliminator.
New Zealand's captain, Daniel Vettori, is not a fan of the concept at any rate. "I think a tie's a tie," Vettori said after the game. "What's wrong with a tie? I have no issues with it."