Watched yearly by billions of adoring spectators worldwide, cricket is undoubtedly one of the nation’s favourite sports.
The History of the T20 Cricket World Cup
The original inter-county Twenty20 or T20 competition was brought about relatively recently in comparison to the game’s history, introduced in 2003 by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Previously, there was a major concern that cricket was facing a huge loss in viewers and sponsorship due to the extended length of the classic game. With test matches and first-class cricket games taking in between 3-5 days to complete, with up to 6 hours of play per day, there was a growing demand for a shortened form of the game to increase the viewership regionally.
The Origins of Twenty20 Cricket
A fast-paced alternative to typical cricket play, the first Twenty20 games were designed to be completed within 3 hours, with each innings lasting 75 minutes and a 10-minute break between each inning. By cutting the standard gameplay time by almost half, the now-shortened game brought cricket far closer to the timespan of other popular sports.
Twenty20 essentially follows the rules of traditional cricket matches but instead allows each team one inning to attempt to score as many runs as possible within 20 overs (120 balls). There are also several other T20-specific rules that were implemented to allow for smoother, faster gameplay, such as the “Free Hit”, the five-run penalties, bowl-outs, 90-second rule and other bowling and fielding restrictions.
The first inaugural games took place on the 13th of June 2003 between English county teams in the Twenty20 Cup competition, resulting the Surrey Lions defeating the Warwickshire Bears during the nail biter of a final. The following year, the first game to be held at the legendary Lord’s grounds on July 2004 saw a monumental attendance of 26,500, one of the largest recorded attendance for any county cricket game since the 1950s.
Over the years, the title of the original 20/20 Cup has changed depending on the primary sponsor. From the FriendsLife T20 to the Vitality Blast as its currently known as, the popularity of the match series has grown hugely, drawing in more than 950,000 fans in 2019 alone.
History of T20 International Cricket
Following its sudden growth of popularity in the western hemisphere, the Twenty20 games were launched worldwide, with Pakistan’s inaugural competition in 2004 to the beginning of the Stanford 20/20 tournament in 2006.
Surprisingly, while cricket is primarily male-dominated, the first T20 International match took place in 2004 between the women’s England and New Zealand teams. This variation of the T20 style is played between two members of the International Cricket Council, following the standardised rules of the game. While previously only permanent T20I status was given to the Test-playing countries, the ICC announced in 2018 that all 105 members of the Council would be granted the status to allow multiple other teams to participate in the International.
Another major event on the cricketing calendar is undoubtedly the ICC World Twenty20 tournament, which was first held during September 2007. The following series of matches resulted in India winning the final, beating Pakistan in South Africa where the inaugural games took place.
Featuring some of the world’s best players, the countries who frequently participate in the ICC T20 World Cup include Australia, England, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, West Indies and Kenya.
Are you ready you for the T20 Cricket World Cup?
The 20/20 international games take place every two years, except in the event that an ICC Cricket World Cup is scheduled to occur. The 2020 ICC T20 World Cup will be the 7th to take place, with both men and women’s teams battling it out on Australian pitches.
The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 takes place from the 21st of February, kicking off the season with an unmissable opening celebration at the Sydney Showground Stadium. The competition culminates with the finals taking place on International Women’s Day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on the 8th of March.
The ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup matches occur later in the year, beginning on the 18th of October with hosts Australia taking on the world’s top team, Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the Super 12 games. The men’s finals will be taking place on the 15th of November at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
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