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What is Twenty20 cricket?

Posted by wildkiwi25 on December 28, 2008


Twenty20 is a form of cricket, originally introduced in the United Kingdom for professional inter-county competition by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), in 2003. A Twenty20 game involves two teams, each have a single innings, batting for a maximum of 20 overs.

A Twenty20 game is completed in about two and half hours, with each innings lasting around 75 minutes, thus bringing the game closer to the timespan of other popular team sports such as football. It was introduced to create a lively form of the game which would be attractive to spectators at the ground and viewers on television and as such it has been very successful. The ECB did not intend that Twenty20 would replace other forms of cricket and these have continued alongside it.

Since its inception the game has spread around the cricket world. On most international tours there is a Twenty20 match and most Test-playing nations have a domestic cup competition. The inaugural World Twenty20 was played in South Africa in 2007 with India defeating Pakistan in the final. The Indian Premier League is currently the largest and most popular (in terms of attendance and television audience) Twenty20 league in the world.



The idea of a shortened format of the game was discussed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 1998 and 2001.

When the Benson & Hedges Cup ended in 2002, the ECB needed another one day competition to fill its place. The cricketing authorities were looking to boost the games popularity with the younger generation in response to dwindling crowds and reduced sponsorship. It was intended to deliver fast paced, exciting cricket accessible to thousands of fans who were put off by the longer versions of the game.

Twenty20 cricket was formally introduced in 2003 when the ECB launched the Twenty20 Cup and was marketed with the slogan “I don’t like cricket, I love it”.

Twenty20 Worldwide:
On 12 January 2005 Australia’s first Twenty20 game was played at the WACA Ground between the Western Warriors and the Victorian Bushrangers. It drew a sellout crowd of 20,700.

Starting 11 July 2006 19 West Indies regional teams competed in what was named the Stanford 20/20 tournament. The event has been financially backed by billionaire Allen Stanford, who gave at least US$28,000,000 funding money. West Indies legends also backed the programme, and several “looked after” the teams during their stay in and around the purpose built ground in Antigua. It is intended that the tournament will be an annual event. Guyana won the inaugural event, defeating Trinidad and Tobago by 5 wickets. The top prize for the winning team was US$1,000,000, but other prizes were given throughout the tournament, such as play of the match (US$10,000) and man of the match (US$25,000).

On 1st of November 2008 the Superstars 101-0 West Indies team beat England 99 by 10 wickets. England slumped to 33-4 and then 65-8 after 15 overs before Samit Patel’s 22 took them to 99 in 19.5 overs, still easily their lowest Twenty20 total. Chris Gayle got an amazing 65 runs not out.

On 5 January 2007 Queensland Bulls played the New South Wales Blues at The Gabba, Brisbane. A crowd of 11,000 was expected based on pre-match ticket sales. However, an unexpected 16,000 turned up on the day to buy tickets, causing disruption and confusion for surprised Gabba staff as they were forced to throw open gates and grant many fans free entry. Attendance reached 27,653.

For 1 February 2008’s Twenty20 match between Australia and India, the Melbourne Cricket Ground was sold out based on pre-ticket sales and 84,041 people attended the match involving the Twenty20 World Champions against the ODI World Champions.

Twenty20 Internationals:
On 17 February 2005 Australia defeated New Zealand in the first men’s full international Twenty20 match, played at Eden Park in Auckland. The game was played in a light-hearted manner – both sides turned out in kit similar to that worn in the 1980s, the New Zealand team’s a direct copy of that worn by the Beige Brigade. Some of the players also sported moustaches/beards and hair styles popular in the 1980s taking part in a competition amongst themselves for best retro look, at the request of the Beige Brigade. Australia won the game comprehensively, and as the result became obvious towards the end of the NZ innings, the players and umpires took things less seriously – Glenn McGrath jokingly replayed the Trevor Chappell underarm incident from a 1981 ODI between the two sides, and Billy Bowden showed him a mock red card (red cards are not normally used in cricket) in response.

The first Twenty20 international in England was played between England and Australia at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire on the 13 June 2005, which England won by a record margin of 100 runs.

On 9 January 2006 Australia and South Africa met in the first international Twenty20 game in Australia. In a first, each player’s nickname appeared on the back of his uniform, rather than his surname. The international match drew a crowd of 38,894 people at the The Gabba. Australia convincingly won the match with man of the match Damien Martyn scoring 96 runs.

On 16 February 2006 New Zealand defeated West Indies in a tie-breaking bowl-out 3-0; 126 runs were scored apiece in the game proper. The game was the last international match played by Chris Cairns – NZC handed out life-size cardboard masks of his face to patrons as they entered the ground.

Although the format has proved successful, it is not without its critics. Purists[who?] feel that Twenty20 waters down the sport and draws attention away from the more serious and technical arm of the sport, first-class cricket and Test Cricket.

It is also argued that since Twenty20 encourages far-from-technical cricket, youngsters wanting to pick up the game will be misguided into believing that cricket is all about trying to hit 6’s and 4’s no matter how you do it. Also it may create the misconception that cricket is a batsman’s game and there is little incentive learning how to bowl, since it is the bowlers that are usually at the receiving end, leading to fewer youngsters taking up bowling.

Rules of Twenty20 Cricket:

A Twenty20 game involves two teams, each have a single innings, batting for a maximum of 20 overs.

The Laws of cricket apply to Twenty20 with some exceptions:

  • Each bowler may bowl a maximum of only one-fifth of the total overs per innings (generally four, for a full, uninterrupted game). i.e., 4 in the 20 overs
  • Should a bowler deliver a no ball by overstepping the popping crease, it costs 1 run and his next delivery is designated a “free-hit”, from which the batsman can only be dismissed through a run out, as is the case for the original “no ball”. (Strictly speaking, the almost never seen methods of dismissal from a “no ball” — for hitting the ball twice, obstructing the field or handling the ball — also apply to the “free-hit” delivery.)
  • Umpires may award five-run penalty runs at their discretion if they believe either team is wasting time.
  • The following fielding restrictions apply:
    -No more than five fielders can be on the leg side at any time.
    -During the first six overs, a maximum of two fielders can be outside the 30-yard circle.
    -After the first six overs, a maximum of five fielders can be outside the fielding circle.
  • If the fielding team doesn’t start to bowl their 20th over within 75 minutes, the batting side is credited an extra six runs for every whole over bowled after the 75 minute mark; the umpire may add more time to this, if he or she considers the batting team is wasting time.
  • If the match ends with the scores tied and there must be a winner, the tie is broken with a one over per side “Eliminator” or “Super Over”. Each team nominates three batsmen and one bowler to play a one over “mini-match”. In turn, each side bats one over bowled by the one nominated opposition bowler, with their innings over if they loses two wickets before the over is completed. The side with the higher score from their over wins.
  • If the teams finish tied on runs scored in that one over, the side with the higher number of sixes in its full innings and in the one-over eliminator will be declared the winner. If the teams are still tied, the one with the higher number of fours in both innings will win.

    Twenty20 Records:

  • Highest individual score – Brendon McCullum (Kolkata) 158* (73) (2008 IPL)
  • Highest team total – Sri Lanka 260/6 (20 overs) (2007 ICC World Twenty20)
  • Most sixes in an innings – Graham Napier (Essex) 16 (2008 Twenty20 Cup)
  • Most sixes in career – David Hussey 63
  • Fastest hundred – Andrew Symonds (Kent) 34 balls (2004 Twenty20 Cup)
  • Fastest fifty – Yuvraj Singh 12 balls (2007 ICC World Twenty20)
  • Most hundreds – Ian Harvey 3
  • Best innings bowling figures – Sohail Tanvir (Rajasthan) 6/14 (2008 IPL)
  • Highest Paid – M.S.Dhoni (Chennai) 5.8 million US dollars (2008 IPL)
  • Most runs in one over – Flag of India Yuvraj Sing 36, 6 balls 6 sixes (2007 ICC World Twenty20)

    Links to more information and records on Twenty20 Cricket:
  • The Twenty20 Cup
  • List of Twenty20 International Records
  • List of Twenty20 International Games
  • The history of Twenty20 Cricket

    *Acknowledgements to and owners of pictures and videos used.

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