T20 World Cup — A brief overview

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The T20 World Cup bunches together the most ambitious and hungriest cricket teams in the world. Every ICC World Cup has witnessed stunning performances from batsmen, bowlers, and fielders. This tournament tests the endurance and mental strength of the top cricketing teams and their players. Read this article which takes you through the history, format and other aspects of the T20 World Cup.

Birthing of the ICC World Cup

After the Benson and Hedges tournament ended in 2002, the ECB began looking out for a more interesting cricket version. The new tournament had to be fast, and the results had to come the same day. The then marketing manager of the ECB, Stuart Robinson proposed the T20 format to the Board which was accepted 11-7. Later, this format went up to the International Cricket Council. The ICC, of course, accepted this proposal.

The first T20 matches were played among the English counties in 2003. In fact, the first Twenty20 season was quite successful. Sussex Lions defeated Warwickshire Bears by 3 wickets to claim the Twenty20 Cup. Readers will be interested to know that the first Twenty20 match at Lord's attracted a fairly heavy crowd of 27,500, and this signalled the growing popularity of this format. This match was played between Surrey and Middlesex on 15th July 2004.

Later, national teams also started playing matches in this format. Australia defeated New Zealand in the first T20 international match way back in 2005 in Eden Park. Since then, many domestic and international T20 matches have been played around the world.

The first T20 World Cup came about in 2007 in South Africa. India won this tournament after defeating Pakistan. The latter won the second ICC World Cup after defeating Sri Lanka. Since then, the ICC World Cup has been held in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018.

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The inaugural ICC World Cup

South Africa hosted the first T20 World Cup in 2007. This tournament lasted from 11 to 24 September. There were 12 teams in this ICC World Cup — the ten regular members of the ICC, and the two finalists from the WCL Division tournament. These two teams were Kenya and Scotland. All the matches were played in three grounds — Kingsmead, Johannesberg, and Wanderers.

Every win produced 2 points. If there was a tie, both teams received one point each. However, after every tie, both teams had to bowl out each other in a separate match. The result of this bowl-out gave the winner.

So far, West Indies is the only team that has won this tournament twice. The other winners are Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and England.

The inaugural T20 World Cup match

This match was played between West Indies and hosts South Africa. The former put up a great performance and scored 205 runs in 20 overs. However, South Africa made 208 runs in only 17.4 overs with 2 wickets and won the inaugural match. This fixture was played in the Wanderers stadium.

Twelve teams participated in the World Cup from 2007 to 2012. This number was raised to 16 from 2014 onward. In that year, the 10 regular members and 6 associate members played in the T20 World Cup. These 6 teams qualified after playing in the 2013 ICC World Twenty 20 Qualifier. Three new teams (Nepal, UAE, and Hong Kong) debuted in the 2014 World Cup.

The success of the T20 World Cup

This tournament has attracted more viewers and participating teams over the years. Countries having very few cricketing traditions have participated in this Cup. These countries are Namibia, Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea, and Oman. All this augurs well for the future growth of not just cricket, but the T20 World Cup as well. Readers would be delighted to know that the United States and Malaysia are interested in hosting this Cup in the future.

T20 World Cup playing format

This is a 20-over game with both sides getting a chance to bowl and bat. There's a toss of coin before every match. The team that wins the toss decided to bat or bowl first.

All the ICC full members qualify for this tournament automatically. The remaining six slots fill up through the T20 World Cup Qualifier matches. However, in 2007, there were only two teams from the non-ICC full members' category.

There are two stages in the tournament — Group Stage and Super 12. Teams rank in each stage according to the following criteria:

  1. The team having the higher number of points ranks higher.
  2. If two teams have the same number of points then the team which has more wins forges ahead.
  3. In case, both have the same wins, then Net Run Rate will be considered.
  4. If the NRRs are the same, then the bowling strike rate becomes important.
  5. A head-to-head meeting happens when the bowling strike rates are also equal.

But what happens on a tie? Well, both teams play a Super Over, then. If this match also ends in a tie, then there would be another Super Over. This process continues until you reach a decision.

Summary of previous ICC World Cups


India won the 2007 ICC World Cup after defeating Pakistan by 5 runs. India scored 157, but Pakistan could manage only 152 runs. The venue of this T20 tournament was South Africa.


There were 16 teams in this edition of the ICC World Cup. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by 8 wickets in the finals at London.


This World Cup was supposed to be held in 2011, but was preponed due to an ICC rule. The winner of the 2010 World Cup was England which defeated Australia by 7 wickets. The final match took place in Bridgetown, West Indies.


West Indies won this tournament by defeating Sri Lanka by a whopping 36 runs in Colombo (Sri Lanka).


This time, the previous runners-up Sri Lanka won the tournament by beating India in the finals in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


The venue was Kolkata, and West Indies bet England by 4 wickets and won the Cup.


Though the T20 format is very new, it has caught the fancy of the cricket fams all over the world. Many domestic cricket leagues, such as the Indian Premier League follow the 20-20 format. In fact, the T20 World Cup has really served to bring the sport to an ever-widening group of people.

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Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.