For my first exhibit, Sri Lanka's Premier Championship. As you can see, Sinhalese Sports Club topped Group B with 144.635 points. How, I wonder, does one obtain a thousandth of a point? Cricinfo provides little in the way of clues, but Cricket Archive tells me that you earn 0.1 of a point for a wicket and 0.005 of a point for a run. There are also eight different permutations of results that each earn different amounts of points. The Sunfoil Series in South Africa is similarly complex, with Cape Cobras earning an exotic 131.86 points to top the table. Cricinfo tells me that "1 point [shall be] awarded on attaining 150 runs, and 0.02 of a point for each run scored thereafter."
It isn't just top level competitions that try to one-up each other with more devious and labyrinthine points systems. Every club competition I've ever played in awards points differently, but my "favourite" has to be the one I that am currently playing in, which I shall not name because it could be any one of many leagues.
Firstly, different amounts of points are awarded for winning depending on whether you bat first or second. You can also earn bonus points for batting and bowling, play for a winning or losing draw, and a raft of other creative results for cricket matches. This means that a good haul of points for a season is somewhere around 300, and can result in dull, tedious cricket as one team bats out for a draw and a couple of batting points rather than going for the win.
What do points mean? Headaches.
If I was to design the points system for a First Class competition, I would keep it incredibly simple. A win would be worth three points; a tie would be worth two points; a draw would be worth one point, and a loss would be worth no points. As a tie-breaker when points, and the number of wins, are equal, I would point to the quotient, which is the team's batting average divided by its bowling average. This is a pretty radical rethink compared to 0.005 points per run, etc., but would it have an equally radical effect on the results created?