In today’s fast-headed world, people don’t have enough time for spending an entire day for a sports match. Thanks to England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for bringing in the idea of the shortest format game which is called the Twenty20 Cricket or T20 cricket. This game format was born in England way back in 2003 and was played between English teams. Twenty20 cricket originated only about a decade ago but pulled a huge crowd than any other cricket format. Almost on all international tours, there is at least one Twenty20 match played.
Let’s understand why T20 cricket format is so popular among people?
1. The rapid pace of the game:
The fast-paced nature of the game constantly moves the match in different directions within a few overs. There are no dull middle overs like ODI games which holds the matches live from the first ball till the last ball. As the overs are limited, the batsman always plays a powerful shot throughout the match. Hence one can rarely see a defensive shot from the batsman. Either the batsman has to go for big shots or return to the pavilion and give way for others. One good over either for batsman or bowler will be a game-changer. Recognizing the dramatic interest of crowds towards T20 cricket, all the big cricket playing countries now have Twenty20 league in their home countries.
2. The short time duration of matches:
The short time duration was the exact reason for which Twenty20 cricket was introduced. Generally, T20 cricket is played in the evening time, so that after a long day people can relax watching cricket. Normally T20 cricket lasts for 3.5 hours which is similar to watching a Bollywood movie. So for people who don’t like to sit and watch 100 overs the whole day (ODI) or typical 5 days (test cricket) then T20 is the exact reason for them to watch cricket.
There is no drinks break or lunch break in-between the match which reduces the match time as well as suitable for people who do not have the patience to watch a lengthy match. After the demanding popularity for T20 cricket, for the first time, 20 over World cup match was played in the year 2007 and India won the ICC T20 World Cup by defeating Pakistan in the final match.
3. Huge sixes and merciless fours:
Unlike a 50 over cricket, a 20 over cricket sets the stadium on fire with reigning sixes and fours throughout the match. The maximum number of wickets that can be taken in a match is 20 but there is no limit to sixes and fours. Hence cricket lovers love to watch T20 cricket with plenty of sixes and fours.
4. Power play restrictions:
During the first six overs of the innings, only two fielders can be outside the 30-yard circle. This gives a greater opportunity for the batsman to clear the boundary easily during the power play overs. Power play overs in T20 cricket is a feast for the fans as they could watch countless boundaries.
5. Bowling variations:
Bowling in T20 crickets is difficult than other formats. More variety (six different deliveries each over) bowling improves the chances of bowlers to slow down the batsman and get them out. Because if the batsman predicts the ball, then it will be smashed to six. It’s no wonder that batsman struggles to face bowlers like Sunil Narine in this format.
6. Fielding a top priority in T20’s:
The margin of winning and losing in a T20 game is very small. Where every single run is important in a limited over matches, the players must exhibit an excellent fielding to reduce the Net Run Rate (NRR). That’s why fielders these days very often make miraculous saves and catches on the field, which was unimaginable 20 years back. The passion that the players exhibit during 20 overs match is truly unbelievable.
7. Indian Premier League:
After India won the first ICC World cup T20 in 2007, the BCCI started the Indian Premier League (popularly called as IPL) in the year 2008 by seeing the huge response towards T20 cricket. IPL became more popular as world-class cricketers from various countries participated in the ipl matches. In a simple language, IPL is a mixed world cup where cricketers from various countries represent different teams.
IPL has lifted many underrated sportsmen to hugely popular cricketers. Through IPL, love towards foreign players has also tremendously increased among Indian fans. IPL is also an open door opportunity for Indian cricketers to represent India in the blue jersey.
Like India, many countries have also started T20 leagues like Big Bash League, Caribbean Premier League, Bangladesh Premier League, etc. These leagues also allow players to develop captaincy skills by representing as the captains of regional teams. In T20 cricket, more proactive captaincy is required to take the team to success. Captains must think out of the box and make crucial decisions which later improves their career.
8. Cheerleaders, loud music and firecrackers:
T20, the reviving cricket of the 21st century is not complete without cheerleaders. With a high dose of glamour and glitz, their dancing skills is a cheer to their team. After every fours, sixes and wicket they take the attention of the arena by their mesmerising dancing moves.
T20 cricket is the perfect evening entertainment for crowds around the arena as well as the audience on TV. More often T20 matches move towards a nail-biting death overs and surprise endings which is the best feeling ever in T20 cricket. One such match is the heart-stopping IPL final match between Chennai Super Kings VS Mumbai Indians, where Mumbai won the tournament in the last ball by just 1 run margin.
Traditional cricket followers feared that T20 cricket would threaten the future of test cricket. But T20 cricket format has sharpened the skills of players for attack batting and technical bowling during pressure situations in any cricket format. Who knows, Twenty20 cricket may also find a place in the Olympic Games.