The T20 Cricket has it roots in England where it was introduced for the first time in professional county cricket tournament. The shortened version of ODI cricket played for only 20 over each side has drawn audiences worldwide and is extremely popular as compared to other versions of cricket. This form of cricket was to provide a short version of the game to worldwide audiences. It was never meant to replace or degrade other forms like ODI and test match cricket. However, to ICC’s surprise, the governing body found that this form of cricket can help introduce the game to many more nations across the world.
The first International T20 match featured the likes of Australia and New Zealand played at the scenic Eden Park stadium in Auckland. The game has made rapid strides since then with the inaugural T20 World Cup Men’s competition being held in South Africa during September 2007. The competition played over duration of two weeks show very entertaining cricket from all the teams. It was the first time that T20 had made it this big and all the teams were uncertain about their performance in the tournament. The first bowl out in the history of T20 cricket was played between India and Pakistan in Durban after the teams were tied in the mandatory 20 over’s period.
Bangladesh proved once again that they are no longer the minnows in World Cricket with their shock defeat of the West Indies; Zimbabwe had also contributed their bit to make the tournament exciting by defeating the Australians in Cape Town. The group stages itself had laid the foundation for the tournament ahead. A young Indian team led by their inspirational captain MS Dhoni, steam rolled over England, South Africa, and title favorites Australia to set up the summit clash against arch rivals Pakistan. The final was an exciting affair with Misbah Ul Haq almost ensuring victory for Pakistan with a big six in the last over of the tournament. However, his miscalculated shot helped India achieve a dramatic 5-run victory over Pakistan and be crowned the T20 champions of the World.
The highlight of the tournament was an over in which Yuvraj Singh of India hammered Englishman Stuart Broad for six sixes of consecutive balls in that over. The most number of runs in the tournament was scored by Gautam Gambhir of India, while Umer Gul of Pakistan snapped up the maximum number of wickets. The Highest strike rate of 183.68 was achieved by Yuvraj Singh and the highest score in a T20 match was 117 scored by Chris Gayle of West Indies against South Africa. Daniel Vettori of New Zealand had the best economy rate amongst the bowlers conceding only 5.28 runs per over in a competition that favored the batsman. The highest score in a T20 match of the tournament was achieved by Sri Lanka when they amassed 260 against the minnows Kenya.
The second edition of the T20 World Cup is currently underway in England with 12 teams making it to the Men’s competition. The tournament is scheduled to be conducted after every two years except for West Indies hosting the tournament in 2010. The matches are being played in locations such as Lord’s, Trent Bridge, The Oval, and Taunton. The group stages have recently finished with Ireland and Netherlands being the surprise package of the tournament. The Dutch had raised their hopes of qualification into the Super 8 round of the tournament with an emphatic victory over England in one of the group games. However, Pakistan steam rolled them and ended all their dreams in the competition.
Ireland has been constantly improving since they first entered the big stage, a memorable win against Pakistan in the ODI International World Cup held in West Indies, they also went on to beat Bangladesh to qualify for the Super 8 round of the competition. The in form teams of this tournament South Africa and Sri Lanka are playing solid cricket to keep their hopes alive of a summit clash, but West Indies, Pakistan, and New Zealand along with the Defending champions India will not make things easy for them. The last half of the tournament promises to be as exciting as the first half, which will throw many surprises and entertain the audiences with display of exciting cricket.
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