What is dew factor & how does it affect cricket match?

In this article lets take a look at everything you need to know about what is dew factor and how does it affect the game of cricket and how you can overcome the dew factor to make the match fair between the 2 teams and is dew factor good for batting or bowling side in detail.

This is the most comprehensive guide you can find online regarding dew factor so I would also recommend you to bookmark the article so that you can read the article in detail.

So without further ADO let’s dive right in.

What is dew factor in cricket and how does it form?

To put it simply in brief words,

Dew is the water vapour which is present in air converts into liquid when the temperature of ground & grass falls in night time and when the grass cools down, the surrounding air gets cool down as well and the water vapour turns from gas into liquid and gets accumulated on grass as moisture.

Because the temperature of the ground is lesser compared to the temperature of air around it and cold air have more weight compared to hot air so all the water vapour present in the air converts into liquid and gets accumulated on the ground which is called as dew.

Note: it is very important to know that land gets heated faster compared to air because land absorbs more solar radiation than water during the daytime and the opposite is that land also cools down more faster compared to air and water which create temperature difference between air and ground so the dew occurs.

Humidity plays a big part in the forming dew as the air condenses when the temperatures fall during the evening. Even in places where dry heat soars during the day followed by cool evenings, dew is almost an inevitability.

Just think of it as opposite of evaporation, evaporation means water converts from liquid to gas due to high temperature in day time due to presence of sun light and condensation is when sun is not present which is in night time obviously the temperature of the atmosphere and the land falls at night and all the water vapour present in the air gets cool down and turns into liquid which is basically water and this is called dew.

This is important for cricket match because many Limited overs matches like ODI and T20 are played in night time for example T20 matches start at 6:30 p.m. and eventually end the match at 11:30 pm at night and

ODI matches start at 1:30 or 2 pm and end at evening 9 or 10 pm and the dew factor will affect in the second innings of the cricket match and there are a few test matches which are played day night but limited overs matches are mostly affected by dew.

Let’s take a look at how this dew factor will affect any cricket match and turn the game upside down.

How dew affect cricket match

Dew can affect quite significantly & change the results of any match to any side and in my opinion, this factor is what makes cricket sometimes unfair and unpredictable but very fascinating.

Lets dig Deep and look at how does dew factor actually affect any cricket match in detail.

  1. Dew makes the ball harder to hold and grip
  2. There will be more miss fields & miss catches by players due to dew
  3. It becomes hard for the bowlers to bowl their line and length accurately
  4. It also becomes harder for the batsman to score boundaries
  5. The ball won’t swing & seam much
  6. It affects bowlers both fast and spin to bowl properly
  7. It causes the ball to skid on bat due to lower friction
  8. Toss will become more crucial than match and runs or wickets

Let’s take a deep look on how dew factor can change the direction & result of any match in detail starting with reason 1,

Dew makes the ball harder to hold and grip

One of the primary disadvantages of dew is that it makes the ball of harder to hold and grip both as a fast bowler and fielder.

First of all any Cricket ball whether it is white ball which is used in Limited overs matches like ODI & T20 and red ball which is used in test matches both are made using cow leather and any genuine leather will always soak and absorb water.

And Dew as you have learnt earlier is all about droplets of water present on the grass so when the ball passes on the field as the batsman hits the ball, the ball will soak and absorb the water and it makes harder for the cricketers like bowlers to hold and grip it.

For better understanding you can think of it as the wet soap which you use while bathing, it becomes harder for any normal individual to grip any wet soap while bathing because there will be less friction between the soap and the palm, similarly when the ball gets wet it becomes harder for the bowler and field to hold and give the ball on their palm because of less friction.

This can seriously impact any cricket match as you can see more miss fields and catch drops by the fielders, if you watch cricket for a while then you must have heard the saying that catches win matches, but dew factor makes hard for the fielders to catch the ball and hold it because fielders also have sweat on their body and palms

because of constantly running on the cricket field and the air around the ground will be warm so there will be less friction between the ball which is already wet and the fielders palm which is slightly wet due to sweat,

at the same time as a bowler it becomes harder for the bowler to ball the line and length properly because their will be less friction and the ball becomes slippery when bowlers bowls the ball.

Because of this you will often see fielder constantly rubbing the cricket ball using any white or red colour towel before handing the ball to the bowler in the middle of the over especially in T20 and ODI matches as shown in the image below,


The fielders do this in order to reduce the moisture present on the surface of the ball so that it becomes easy for the bowler to bowl and increases a little bit of friction at the same time bowlers and spinners rub their palm on the ground & pitch as shown in the image below


They do it to get some friction and remove sweat and dew on their palm as it helps have some friction which is very important to hold the ball and bowl the line and length accurately both for bowler and spinner.

Compared to wrist spinners, the finger-spin bowlers are affected more while bowling with such ball as they depend on gripping the ball to get the required amount of turn.

To summarise, because ball gets wet and slippery and it becomes hard to hold and grip, the following will happen,

  • You will see more fields and drop catches in the cricket field and we all know that catches in matches in cricket so it can significantly affect any cricket match result
  • Bowlers cannot hold the ball properly in their hand due to less friction between the ball and the palm and the ball gets slippery so it becomes hard for the bowlers to bowl their line and length accurately on the pitch
  • Dew will also affect spinners because it will also affect them as to hold, grip and turn the ball in the air simply because there will be less friction between the ball and the palm of the bowler and because of this spinners will often bowl more full tosses and miss their line and length because ball slips away from the palm
  • Fielders can also over throw the ball in field due to dew on the ball and slipperiness

Now let’s take a look at more ways on how dew can affect any cricket match.

It also becomes harder for the batsman to score boundaries

Apart from bowling and fielding dew factor will also affect batting and let me tell you how,

Dew factor will make the ball more heavier because any white ball in cricket is made of using cow leather and any leather will usually soak water, moisture and because of that the cricket ball will become more heavier

compared to its normal weight which is 160 grams and the batsman will have to put extra energy behind their cricketing shots in order to get the ball towards the boundary because the ball is more heavier.

Apart from that because the outfield of the cricket ground is wet due to dew and also soft and the ball is quite heavy, This means that when a batsman hits the ball aerially and it bounces on the turf,

it is more likely to make a dent in the soft ground and ‘plug’. This means that a lot of the momentum of the ball will be stopped, making it harder to get to the boundary, because they will be more sure and waters on the grass which will slow down the pace of the ball on ground.

Because of this reason you will often see, rolling machines called super soppers & ropes on the cricket field to reduce the moisture on the grass of the ground which is shown in the image below.

super sopper used on the field to reduce and soak up most of the dew on the field
Ropes used to reduce the dew on the ground

The ball won’t swing & seam much

Another way dew factor can affect the cricket match is that it will reduce the amount of Swing or seam that any Cricket ball would have in match.

First of all there are two types of fast bowling in general which are swing bowling and seam bowling.

Basically swing bowling is a type of bowling where the ball moves in the air in either inside or outside the batsman which is called inswing or outswing, whereas Seam bowling is type of bowling where ball is deliberately bowled on to its seam ( the stitches present on the ball) and the ball will deviate after it lands & bounces on the cricket pitch.

First of all, in swing bowling, the ball will only swing if one side of the ball is shiny and other one is rough, in such a case due to different air pressure on different sides of ball,

the ball will move in the air but when the dew factor comes into the match then because the ball will soak all the moisture present on the grass in it and both the sides of the ball will become soft due to moisture present on the ball, the very science behind ball swinging is absent so there will not be any swing or movement of ball in air.

Dew has a lot of influence on the cricket pitch. In general, as the match progresses, cracks on the pitch open lightly because of continuously hitting the ball on pitch at a high speed and constantly running on the pitch to take runs for the batsman and the cracks which open Slow Down the pitch and

increase the friction on the pitch, and the ball doesn’t come onto the bat comfortably. So the pitch favors the bowlers in the second half of the game, and chasing seems complicated but

due to Dew factor the cracks don’t open up due to moisture present on the pitch and there will not be any cracks, less friction and less help for bowlers.

Similarly their will also be no seam or deviation of the ball because first of all even the cricket pitch will also have some moisture and obviously the ball will become soft because of Dew present on it so there will be less friction between the pitch and the ball to create any bounce, Seam and

when there is no or minimal friction between ball and pitch, the ball will skid on to the bat because if the friction is present between ball and pitch and there is no dew factor then the ball will slow down after it contacts with pitch (because friction will slow down the motion of objects on the surface which is basic science)

the pace of the ball will get reduced, ball will deviate in air and it can mess up or distract batsmen and their timing on shots but it will not happen because of dew.

Think of it like wet bar of soap, when dew is present, ball becomes like that and it becomes hard to hold, throw, and grip the soap and same happens with wet ball.

Because of this reason, the Dew factor will help immensely to the batting side because first of all ball does not swing, nor seam and it does not also help spinners because it becomes hard for them to hold and grip the ball while releasing it and

because the balls skids onto the bat and having no friction on the ground between ball and pitch, batsman can easily play the cricketing shots because the pace of the ball does not get reduced and it becomes easy to time the cricketing shots for batsman and score more runs.

Toss will become more crucial than match and runs or wickets

Because of all these reasons and effects of dew factor in cricket match,

Any team which wins the toss especially in T20 and ODI Cricket, they would most likely choose to select bowling first if there will be dew factor in second innings and if the match is played in conditions where there is high humidity because more humidity means more dew factor during the  night time & second innings.

This is another disadvantage of dew factor because any team which selects bowling first after winning the toss keeping in mind the dew factor will first of all make the game unfair and

the team which wins the toss will have higher advantage of winning the match before the match starts and team which lost the toss will lose some confidence and have a thought of dew factor affecting the game back of the mind which can reflect in their performance in game.

For example if you have been watching cricket in recent times, then in T20 world cup of 2021 which was held in UAE, dew factor was a decider of every match, almost every team which has selected bowling first after winning the toss has won the match in the tournament including knock out matches, semi finals and finals as well.

This is the last disadvantage and affect of dew factor in cricket match.

Well as a cricket fan you might get a doubt that can we not do anything in order to reduce the dew factor, to that I would say of course we can and we are doing quite a bit to reduced the dew factor but we cannot completely change the cycle of the nature,

Let’s take a look at how we can reduce the Dew factor in cricket match

How to reduce and overcome the dew factor in cricket?

  1. The first way to reduce the dew factor is by cutting the grass on the ground because more length and height of grass can lead to more accumulation of moisture which can increase the Dew factor
  2. The second way to reduce dew factor is by not watering the cricket ground for a couple of days before the match begins normally cricket grounds are watered in order to avoid grass getting dried out but not sprinkling water before a couple of days when match begins, all the dew that accumulates on the grass will get absorbed by the grass quickly because the grass would become dry
  3. In the middle of cricket match like any drinks break & end of innings, big ropes which get attached with machines are used as shown in the image earlier to soakup all the dew in the rope
  4. There are a variety of non-toxic sprays available in the marketplace which can decrease the effect of dew. Spraying them uniformly all over the field will help in soaking all the dew from the pitch.
  5. The other way to overcome dew factor is super-soppers. It is a powerful weapon that soaks all the moisture from the pitch in a super-fast manner.

these are some popular methods we can use to remove and overcome dew factor in cricket match to some extent to make the match more fair to both the teams.

Is dew good for batting or bowling

After learning all the effects of dew factor in a cricket match if you are still confused whether dew factor is good for batting or bowling then in brief words,

Dew factor gives batsman advantage because bowlers cannot hold and grip the ball and fast bowlers cannot Ball accurate line & length, ball skids on the bat and it becomes easy to time shots as a batsman, ball won’t swing or seam much due to dew & you can see a lot of miss fields & drop catches because ball slips away from the hand due to less friction.

So in every way possible Dew factor will only benefit batting side but of course as I have already mentioned a dear the batting team and the batsman will have to put more energy Behind every shot the play to get the boundary Because the ball will be more heavier as it will soak more water but apart from that Dew factor will only help batsmen and it can turn the game result upside-down.

with that said let’s conclude the article.


I hope this clears all your doubts regarding Dew factor in cricket in detail

Do comment down what are your thoughts about the factors and how we can reduce it to make cricket more fair between the teams.

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