Twenty20 cricket, sometimes written Twenty-20, and often abbreviated to T20, is a short form of cricket. At the professional level, it was originally introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2003 for the inter-county competition in England and Wales. In a Twenty20 game the two teams have a single innings each, which is restricted to a maximum of 20 overs. Together with first-class and List A cricket, Twenty20 is one of the three current forms of cricket recognised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as being at the highest international or domestic level.
A typical Twenty20 game is completed in about three hours, with each innings lasting around 75–90 minutes and a 10–20-minute interval. This is much shorter than previously-existing forms of the game, and is closer to the timespan of other popular team sports. It was introduced to create a fast-paced form of the game which would be attractive to spectators at the ground and viewers on television.
Since its inception the game has been very successful resulting in its spread around the cricket world. On most international tours there is at least one Twenty20 match and all Test-playing nations have a domestic cup competition. The inaugural ICC World Twenty20 was played in South Africa in 2007 with India winning by five runs against Pakistan in the final. Pakistan won the second tournament in 2009, and England won the title in the West Indies 2010. West Indies won in 2012, with Sri Lanka winning the 2014 tournament. West Indies are the reigning champions, winning the 2016 competition, and in doing so, became the first nation to win the tournament twice.
When the Benson & Hedges Cup ended in 2002, the ECB needed another one day competition to fill its place. Cricketing authorities were looking to boost the game's 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. Stuart Robertson, the marketing manager of the ECB, proposed a 20 over per innings game to county chairmen in 2001 and they voted 11–7 in favour of adopting the new format.
The first official Twenty20 matches were played on 13 June 2003 between the English counties in the Twenty20 Cup. The first season of Twenty20 in England was a relative success, with the Surrey Lions defeating the Warwickshire Bears by 9 wickets in the final to claim the title. The first Twenty20 match held at Lord's, on 15 July 2004 between Middlesex and Surrey, attracted a crowd of 27,509, the highest attendance for any county cricket game at the ground – other than a one-day final – since 1953.
Thirteen teams from different parts of the country participated in Pakistan's inaugural competition in 2004, with Faisalabad Wolves the first winners. 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 sell-out crowd of 20,000, which was the first time in nearly 25 years the ground had been completely sold out.
Starting 11 July 2006 19 West Indies regional teams competed in what was named the Stanford 20/20 tournament. The event was financially backed by billionaire Allen Stanford, who gave at least US$28,000,000 funding money. It was intended that the tournament would be an annual event. Guyana won the inaugural event, defeating Trinidad and Tobago by 5 wickets, securing US$1,000,000 in prize money.
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 Twenty20 match between Australia and India, 85,824 people attended the match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground involving the Twenty20 World Champions against the ODI World Champions.
The Stanford Super Series was held in October 2008 between Middlesex and Trinidad and Tobago, the respective winners of the English and Caribbean Twenty20 competitions, and a Stanford Superstars team formed from West Indies domestic players; Trinidad and Tobago won the competition, securing US$280,000 prize money. On 1 November, the Stanford Superstars played England in what was expected to be the first of five fixtures in as many years with the winner claiming a US$20,000,000 in each match. The Stanford Superstars won the first match, however no further fixtures were held as Allen Stanford was charged with fraud in 2009.
The first Twenty20 International match was held on 5 August 2004 between the England and New Zealand women's teams with New Zealand winning by nine runs
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 13 June 2005, which England won by a margin of 100 runs, a record victory which lasted until 2007.
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 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.
Every two years an ICC World Twenty20 tournament is to take place, except in the event of an ICC Cricket World Cup being scheduled in the same year, in which case it will be held the year before. The first tournament was in 2007 in South Africa where India defeated Pakistan in the final. Two Associate teams had played in the first tournament, selected through the 2007 ICC World Cricket League Division One, a 50-over competition. In December 2007 it was decided to hold a qualifying tournament with a 20-over format to better prepare the teams. With six participants, two would qualify for the 2009 World Twenty20 and would each receive $250,000 in prize money. The second tournament was won by Pakistan who beat Sri Lanka by 8 wickets in England on 21 June 2009. The 2010 ICC World Twenty20 tournament was held in West Indies in May 2010, where England defeated Australia by 7 wickets. The 2012 ICC World Twenty20 was won by the West-Indies, by defeating Sri Lanka at the finals. It was the first time in Cricket history when a T20 World Cup tournament took place in an Asian country. The 2014 ICC World Twenty20 was won by Sri Lanka, by defeating India at the finals, where the tournament was held in Bangladesh. The 2016 ICC World Twenty20 was won by West-Indies, by defeating England at the finals, where the tournament was held in India.
Twenty20 cricket is claimed to have resulted in a more athletic and "explosive" form of cricket. Indian fitness coach Ramji Srinivasan declared in an interview with the Indian fitness website Takath.com, that Twenty20 had "raised the bar" in terms of fitness levels for all players, demanding higher levels of strength, speed, agility and reaction time from all players regardless of role in the team. Matthew Hayden credited retirement from international cricket with aiding his performance in general and fitness in particular in the Indian Premier League.
In June 2009, speaking at the annual Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's, former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist pushed for Twenty20 to be made an Olympic sport. "It would," he said, "be difficult to see a better, quicker or cheaper way of spreading the game throughout the world."
Twenty20 match format is a form of limited overs cricket in that it involves two teams, each with a single innings, the key feature being that each team bats for a maximum of 20 overs. In terms of visual format, the batting team members do not arrive from and depart to traditional dressing rooms, but come and go from a "bench" (typically a row of chairs) visible in the playing arena, analogous to association football's "technical area" or a baseball "dugout".
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. For a full, uninterrupted match, this is 4 overs.
If a bowler delivers a no ball by overstepping the popping crease, it costs 1 run and his next delivery is designated a "free-hit". In this circumstance the batsman can only be dismissed through a run out, hitting the ball twice, obstructing the field or handling the ball.
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 (this is known as the powerplay).
After the first six overs, a maximum of five fielders can be outside the fielding circle.
If the fielding team does not 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 believes the batting team is wasting time.
Currently, 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 per side "mini-match". The team which bats second in the match bats first in the Super Over. In turn, each side bats one over bowled by the one nominated opposition bowler, with their innings over if they lose two wickets before the over is completed. The side with the higher score from their Super Over wins. If the super over also ends up in a tie, the team that has scored the most boundaries (4s+6s) in the 20 overs wins.
In the Australian domestic competition the Big Bash League the Super Over is played slightly differently, with no 2-wicket limit, and if the super over is also tied then a "countback" is used, with scores after the fifth ball for each team being used to determine the result. If it is still tied, then the countback goes to 4 balls and so on. The latest Super Over to decide a match was between the Sydney Sixers winning against the Brisbane Heat on the 25th January 2017, in the Big Bash League at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, with the Sixers winning 0/22 to 0/15 in the Super Over after tying on 164.
Tied Twenty20 matches were previously decided by a "bowl-out".
Women's and men's Twenty20 Internationals have been played since 2004 and 2005 respectively. To date, 20 nations have played the format, including all test playing nations. This considers only matches between teams with Twenty20 International status, which is limited by the International Cricket Council to a small number of top teams.
In November 2011, the ICC released the first Twenty20 International rankings for the men's game, based on the same system as the Test and ODI rankings. The rankings cover a 2 to 3-year period, with matches since the most recent 1 August weighted fully, matches in the preceding 12 months weighted two-thirds, and matches in the 12 months preceding that weighted one-third. To qualify for the rankings, teams must have played at least eight Twenty20 Internationals in the ranking period.
The ICC do not maintain a separate Twenty20 ranking for the women's game, instead aggregating performance over all three forms of the game into one overall women's teams ranking.
This is a list of the current Twenty20 domestic competitions in several of the leading cricket countries.
See also: List of Twenty20 International records