Cricket T20 Match between Sussex Sharks and Somerset

T20 Cricket 

T20 Cricket is a newer version of the classic sport cricket which , in its original form, has been around for about 146 years. Beginning in 1877, the first test matches were between England and Australia, and since then it has hit the world for six. The largest viewing figures ever came in 2021, when 177 million people worldwide tuned in to watch New Zealand beat India in the Test Championship final, and the evidence of its success was only bolstered considering 9 million tuned in to watch a one-off test series between England and India earlier that same year.

That being said, for newbies, cricket is not the easiest sport to get into. Sure, the rules are simple. Two teams of eleven players – one fielding, another batting – battle it out to ensure they have more points on the board by the time the game is over. The spectacle is beautiful and complex – the batting side has a range of moves and skills to defy the bowler and ensure they stay in the crease and score points at the same time. But there has always been an issue when it comes to cricket’s run time.

See, while a game of football will be carried out over the course of 90 minutes, a game of Test Cricket is carried out over five days. Yep, that’s not a typo. From start to finish, it takes a total of five days for both sides to play two innings. This is a bit of a problem when you’re trying to encourage new fans to sit down and watch a game from start to finish. That is why the ICU had to come up with a solution and, in 2003, that solution was unveiled. It’s known as T20 cricket, and its inception twenty years ago changed the cricketing landscape forever.

The 101

  • The first official T20 cricket matches were played in June 2003, after the ICU decided to take drastic action to ensure they build a new cricket audience.
  • The rules are different to traditional test cricket. Instead of unlimited overs within a five-day time frame, each side instead has twenty overs each. The team with the most points by the end of their overs wins the game.
  • Fans were immediately enraptured by the new format, especially with an emphasis on night games to ensure a larger turnout to the spectacle.
  • Over the years, T20 cricket has grown to include its own World Cup, with as many as 6.5 billion video views for the ICC final in 2022.
  • This was a 65% increase compared to 2021, demonstrating the continued popularity of the format and its potential in the future.

A History Of T20 Cricket

Introducing a new format of cricket was never going to be easy. As mentioned previously, cricket in its basic form has been around since 1877, and much of the game is defined by its traditions. A bolder, faster and wilder concept was always going to go one of two ways. Either a sizable amount of money would be spent and fans would turn their nose up – a bad turnout of traditional fans would lead to poor publicity for new fans – or the tournament would be a success and cricket would be revolutionised.

Thankfully, things couldn’t have gone much better. In 2003, the England and Wales Cricket Board put on the first tournament, which was competed by the English county teams. The new format was watched with keen interest and in 2005 it was picked up by Australia and New Zealand, with the first international T20 cricket being held in Auckland. From this point on, T20 began to gain even more traction, with the first T20 World Cup going ahead in 2007, hosted by South Africa. The tournament was won by India, and this sparked a fresh wave of interest and a whole new market in one of the biggest cricketing countries in the world. 

Between 2010 and 2020, every cricketing country developed its own domestic tournaments, including the Caribbean Premier League, the T20 Blast in the UK, the Big Bash in Australia and the Indian Premier League. Each league utilises the best players in the country, displaying a range of skill sets, intense match-ups and a variety of drama. In the T20 blast alone, there have been four different winners in the last five years. The playing field is level, and that makes the draw of T20 cricket even stronger for fans getting on board.

A New Year: T20 Cricket 2023

As the popularity of T20 continues to grow, the calendar just gets more and more exciting. Looking at 2023, the most anticipated event has to be the Women’s T20 World Cup, which is kicking off on 10th February. Although Australia is certainly going into the tournament as the favourite, other teams such as India and England cannot be written off, especially with players like Nat Sciver and Smriti Mandhana proving to be standout performers in 2022.

There is also another Vitality Blast to look forward to in the UK. With the 18 teams split up into two groups, match-ups like Hampshire Hawks against Sussex Sharks and Lancashire Lightning against Leicestershire Foxes certainly look the most tantalising. Rivalries exist in every sport, but it’s hard to find any other tournament where two teams have quite the same level of animosity between each other as these two. It’s all in good humour, of course, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few fireworks!

With so many leagues and tournaments to choose from, it can be a little difficult to know exactly which one to tune into, especially if you’re a new fan. Luckily for you, we’re on the case. Here are three other T20 tournaments that you need to catch in 2023:

  •  Pakistan Super League 

Pakistan is one of the most entertaining cricketing countries, especially with players like Shaheen Shah Afridi and Babar Azam tearing it up on the field. This league is often highly fought. Like the Vitality Blast, four different winners have come out of the last five years of the league, meaning it is always edge-of-your-seat viewing.

  • Australian Big Bash

Although this league feels a little “Americanised”, that doesn’t take away from the talent that is on display. Legends such as Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon will be playing in the second half of the tournament, and the finals are a historically tight affair.

  • Indian Premier League

Perhaps the most popular league in the world, the India Premier League is quite simply a blast from start to finish. It’s almost unbelievable to think that there was a time when India did not have this spectacle to look forward to every year. It’s always a display of their strength and depth of players, which essentially makes them favourites going into every T20 World Cup!

T20 Cricket Famous Players

But who should you look out for when you tune into T20 2023? Well, there are a number of notable alumni when it comes to this sport, despite the fact it only started in 2003. Of course, many of these alumni have packed up their stumps, but there are a fair few who will be in action this year. 

No alumni list would be reliable if it didn’t mention the legend that is Ben Stokes. Best known for his World Cup and Ashes glory in 2019, he went above and beyond last year when he assisted England to the T20 World Cup, further proving himself as one of the best – if not the best – England players ever to have braced the crease. 

Steve Smith will also be making an appearance this year. Although his history with Australia has been a little shaky – what cricket fan can forget that sandpaper controversy? – he has more than redeemed himself over the last few years. His batting remains outstanding and although the switch between test and cricket T20 shouldn’t necessarily work with his style, he manages to suit whatever format he is playing. Certainly one to watch during Australia’s Big Bash.

In terms of retired greats, notable alumni include Kevin Pietersen, who has a batting average of 37.93 and a strike rate of 141.51. He was one of the best players not to be appreciated by England, who somehow dropped him in 2012 whilst he was at the peak of his powers. And how can we go without mentioning the mystery spinner? Lasith Malinga had 66 wickets in his Sri Lanka career, including a 12 wicket haul in the 2012 World Cup. The ball was controlled by his mind once it left his fingers, and it didn’t often miss its intended target.

T20: DAZN Bet’s Pop Quiz

We mentioned in the opening to this article that cricket is quite a simple sport. In many ways, it is. But that doesn’t necessarily mean all the facts and figures are too. In just twenty years, there have been plenty of games, runs and stats that have found their way into the history book. So why not impress your fellow fan during the next T20 event? Here is a short pop quiz to get you equipped with all the T20 knowledge you need:

Who Has The Most International Runs?

A number of league players have made a big impact on the world stage, but none more so than Virat Kohli, who has a total of 4,008 runs. He made his debut against Zimbabwe in 2010, so he’s had plenty of time to achieve those runs, but that doesn’t take away from such a monumental achievement.

Who Has The Most Wickets?

The leading wicket taker is New Zealand legend Tim Southee, whose right-arm fast bowls have taken out 134 batsmen in 107 matches. Not far behind him is Shakib Al Hasan, who has taken a total of 128 wickets in his sixteen years of T20.

Who Scored The First 100?

Before they step out onto the crease, every batsman has one goal in mind: get a century, go down in the history books. Whilst many have achieved this goal, the very first to do it was Chris Gayle, who scored 117 runs against South Africa in 2007.

What Is The Highest Cricket T20 Score?

Of course, whilst scores like 300 or 400 are normal in test cricket, they are almost impossible to achieve in T20. With each team only getting 120 balls, it is important to be both aggressive and conservative. But that hasn’t stopped some monumental scorelines in the past. The most incredible has to be Afghanistan’s runs against Ireland in 2019. In this game, they achieved a total of 278 runs.

Which Countries Have Won The T20 World Cup?

There are a number of different leagues and trophies to hand out in T20 cricket, but the most prestigious is always going to be the T20 World Cup. So far, winners include India – who won the first World Cup – Pakistan, England, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Australia. Interestingly, both West Indies and England are the most successful countries, with two World Cup’s each.

Which Team Has The Most Successful Run Chase?

Chasing down a high score can be daunting, but not for Australia apparently. In February 2018, they chased down a score of 244 against New Zealand, which is the highest successful run chase. Not far behind that feat is West Indies, who chased down 235 against South Africa in 2015.

What Is The Most Successful League?

The most successful league – in terms of viewers – is the Indian Premier League, which attracted as many as 229 million viewers last year. That being said, the IPL has technically performed poorly in comparison to 2021, having dropped a whole 35% of viewership. Still, the viewers far outweigh those for the Vitality Blast or Big Bash, for instance. 

Is Cricket T20 Going To Overtake Test Cricket?

There has been a lot of discussion about whether test cricket has seen its day, and T20 is steadily becoming more popular as the years go on. But despite the concerns about T20 taking over, 74% of players still rate test cricket as the most important to play in, and events like the 2019 Ashes tour prove there is still an audience. It is likely that the two formats will form their own entity and continue long into the future.