Twenty20 cricket or Twenty-20 (often abbreviated to T20), is a shortened format 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.[1] 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 90 minutes and an official 10 minute break between the innings. This is much shorter than previous forms of the game, and is closer to the timespan of other popular team sports. It was introduced to create a fast-paced game that would be attractive to spectators at the ground and viewers on television.

The game has succeeded in spreading 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. West Indies are the reigning world champions, winning the 2016 competition.



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.[2]

The first official Twenty20 matches were played on 13 June 2003 between the English counties in the Twenty20 Cup.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

Spread worldwide

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 one in nearly 25 years.[6]

Starting on 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.[7][8]

On 5 January 2007 Queensland Bulls played the New South Wales Blues at The Gabba, Brisbane. An unexpected 16,000 fans turned up on the day to buy tickets, causing Gabba staff to throw open gates and grant many fans free entry. Attendance reached 27,653.[9] For the February 2008 Twenty20 match between Australia and India, 85,824[10] 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 three teams. The respective winners of the English and Caribbean Twenty20 competitions, Middlesex and Trinidad and Tobago, and a Stanford Superstars team formed from West Indies domestic players. Trinidad and Tobago won the competition, securing US$280,000 prize money.[11][12] 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 US$20,000,000 in each match. The Stanford Superstars won the first match,[13] however no further fixtures were held as Allen Stanford was charged with fraud in 2009.[14]

T20 leagues

Several T20 leagues started after the popularity of the 2007 ICC World Twenty20.[15] The Board of Control for Cricket in India started the Indian Premier League in 2008, which utilizes the North American sports franchise system with eight teams in major Indian markets, and is currently in its twelfth season of competition. In September 2017, the broadcasting and digital rights for the next five years (2018-2022) of the IPL were sold to Star India for US$2.55 billion,[16] making it one of the world's most lucrative sports league per match. The IPL has seen a spike in its brand valuation to US$5.3 billion after the 10th edition, according to global valuation and corporate finance advisor Duff & Phelps.[17]

The Big Bash League, Bangladesh Premier League, Pakistan Super League, and Caribbean Premier League started thereafter, following similar formulae, and remained popular with the fans.[18][19] The Women's Big Bash League was started in 2015 by Cricket Australia, while the Kia Super League was started in England and Wales in 2016.

Twenty20 Internationals

The first Twenty20 International match was held on 5 August 2004 between England and New Zealand women's teams with New Zealand winning by nine runs[20].

On 17 February 2005 Australia defeated New Zealand in the first men's international Twenty20 match, played at Eden Park in Auckland. Video link []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 mustaches/beards and hairstyles 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.[21]

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.

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.

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.[22] 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 the 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.

Impact on the game

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, 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.[23] Matthew Hayden credited retirement from international cricket with aiding his performance in general and fitness in particular in the Indian Premier League.[24][25]

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."[26]

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, on the other hand, has criticized Twenty20 as being detrimental to Test cricket and for hampering batsmen's scoring skills and concentration.[27] Former Australian captain Greg Chappell made similar complaints, fearing that young players would play too much T20 and not develop their batting skills fully, while former England player Alex Tudor feared the same for bowling skills.[28][29]

Former West Indies captains Clive Lloyd, Michael Holding and Garfield Sobers criticised Twenty20 for its role in discouraging players from representing their test cricket national side, with many West Indies players like Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine and Dwayne Bravo preferring instead to play in a Twenty20 franchise elsewhere in the world and make far more money.[30][31][32][33][34]

Under-17s and Under-19s are playing T20 games in national championships, and at the detriment of two-day games. Good state players these days are averaging 35; if you were averaging 35 when I was playing your dad would go and buy you a basketball or a footy and tell you to play that.

Ricky Ponting, [35]

Match format and rules


Twenty20 match format is a form of limited overs cricket in that it involves two teams, each with a single innings, the key feature is 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.[36]

General rules

The Laws of cricket apply to Twenty20, with major exceptions:[37]

  • 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 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 or obstructing the field.
  • 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 they believe the batting team is wasting time.

Tie deciders

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[38] or Super Over:[39][40] 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.[41][42] 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.[43] The latest Super Over to decide a match was between the Sydney Sixers winning against the Brisbane Heat on 25 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.[44]

Tied Twenty20 matches were previously decided by a bowl-out.[45]


Women's and men's Twenty20 Internationals have been played since 2004 and 2005 respectively. To date, 76 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.

Nation Date of men's T20I debut Date of women's T20I debut
 Australia 17 February 2005 2 September 2005
 New Zealand 17 February 2005 5 August 2004
 England 13 June 2005 5 August 2004
 South Africa 21 October 2005 10 August 2007
 West Indies 16 February 2006 27 June 2008
 Sri Lanka 15 June 2006 12 June 2009
 Pakistan 28 August 2006 25 May 2009
 Bangladesh 28 November 2006 27 August 2012
 Zimbabwe 28 November 2006 5 January 2019
 India 1 December 2006 5 August 2006
 Kenya 1 September 2007 6 April 2019
 Scotland 12 September 2007 7 July 2018
 Netherlands 2 August 2008 27 June 2008
 Ireland 2 August 2008 27 June 2008
 Canada 2 August 2008 17 May 2019
 Bermuda 3 August 2008
 Afghanistan 2 February 2010
   Nepal 16 March 2014 12 January 2019
 Hong Kong 16 March 2014 12 January 2019
 United Arab Emirates 17 March 2014 7 July 2018
 Papua New Guinea 15 July 2015 7 July 2018
 Oman 25 July 2015
 Sierra Leone 20 August 2018
 Lesotho 20 August 2018
 South Korea 3 November 2018
 China 3 November 2018
 Indonesia 12 January 2019
 Myanmar 12 January 2019
 Bhutan 13 January 2019
 Bahrain 20 January 2019
 Saudi Arabia 20 January 2019
 Kuwait 20 January 2019 18 February 2019
 Maldives 20 January 2019
 Qatar 21 January 2019
 Rwanda 26 January 2019
 United States 15 March 2019 17 May 2019
 Philippines 22 March 2019
 Vanuatu 22 March 2019 6 May 2019
 Spain 29 March 2019
 Malta 29 March 2019
 Mexico 25 April 2019 23 August 2018
 Belize 25 April 2019
 Costa Rica 25 April 2019 26 April 2019
 Panama 25 April 2019
 Japan 6 May 2019
 Fiji 6 May 2019
 Tanzania 6 May 2019
 Belgium 11 May 2019
 Germany 11 May 2019 26 June 2019
 Uganda 20 May 2019 7 July 2018
 Nigeria 20 May 2019 26 January 2019
 Ghana 20 May 2019
 Namibia 20 May 2019 20 August 2018
 Botswana 20 May 2019 20 August 2018
 Italy 25 May 2019
 Guernsey 31 May 2019 31 May 2019
 Jersey 31 May 2019 31 May 2019
 Norway 15 June 2019 31 July 2019
 Denmark 16 June 2019
 Mali 18 June 2019
 Malaysia 24 June 2019 3 June 2018
 Thailand 24 June 2019 3 June 2018
 Samoa 8 July 2019 6 May 2019
 Finland 13 July 2019
 Singapore 22 July 2019 9 August 2018
 France 31 July 2019
 Cayman Islands 18 August 2019
 Austria 29 August 2019 31 July 2019
 Romania 29 August 2019
 Luxembourg 29 August 2019
 Turkey 29 August 2019
 Czech Republic 30 August 2019
 Argentina 3 October 2019 3 October 2019
 Brazil 3 October 2019 23 August 2018
 Chile 3 October 2019 23 August 2018
 Peru 3 October 2019 3 October 2019
 Bulgaria 14 October 2019
 Serbia 14 October 2019
 Greece 15 October 2019
 Portugal 25 October 2019
 Gibraltar 26 October 2019
 Malawi 6 November 2019 20 August 2018
 Mozambique 6 November 2019 20 August 2018

T20 International rankings

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.[46][47]

ICC T20I Championship
1  Pakistan318366270
2  Australia266986269
3  England215568265
4  South Africa184720262
5  India369349260
6  New Zealand246056252
7  Sri Lanka276413238
8  Afghanistan204696235
9  Bangladesh235212227
10  West Indies245378224
11  Zimbabwe214082194
12    Nepal214000190
13  Scotland234310187
14  Ireland366630184
15  United Arab Emirates264781184
16  Netherlands315547179
17  Oman183187177
18  Papua New Guinea305277176
19  Namibia253829153
20  Hong Kong192727144
21  Singapore222954134
22  Qatar202589129
23  Canada192404127
24  Saudi Arabia111331121
25  Jersey242773116
26  Italy121326111
27  Kenya182058114
28  Kuwait131354104
29  Denmark141438103
30  Bermuda13120292
31  Germany18152785
32  United States15120881
33  Botswana19149479
34  Ghana1077377
35  Uganda14106976
36  Norway1070987
37  Austria1177871
38  Guernsey16112770
39  Romania641970
40  Malaysia26177268
41  Nigeria16106066
42  Sweden846558
43  Tanzania633456
44  Spain1687355
45  Cayman Islands843054
46  Philippines943348
47  Argentina1777145
48  France626745
49  Vanuatu2086943
50  Belize937742
51  Luxembourg1040741
52  Bahrain726137
53  Peru1345835
54  Fiji621035
55  Panama929132
56  Belgium929032
57  Samoa1031832
58  Japan1031732
59  Costa Rica825232
60  Mexico1752031
61  Hungary618030
62  Mozambique1235229
63  Czech Republic1748028
64  Thailand1436926
65  Malawi1229725
66  Israel717325
67  Portugal921524
68  Finland1329623
69  Bhutan818023
70  South Korea1021722
71  Isle of Man714921
72  Chile1426519
73  Bulgaria56814
74  Sierra Leone56112
75  Brazil1314311
76  Maldives1111410
77  Saint Helena121099
78  Malta131088
79  Myanmar9233
80  Indonesia730
81  Gibraltar1200
82  China1100
83  Gambia600
84  Eswatini600
85  Rwanda600
86  Lesotho600
87  Turkey700
Reference: ICC rankings for Tests, ODIs, Twenty20 & Women ICC page, 10 November 2019
"Matches" is the number of matches played in the 12-24 months since the May before last, plus half the number in the 24 months before that.

Until 2018, the ICC did 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.[48] However, in October, the ICC announced that the women's ranking would be split between ODIs and T20Is, and released both tables shortly thereafter.[49]


This is a list of the current Twenty20 domestic competitions in several of the leading cricket countries.

Country Domestic Competition Number of Teams
AfghanistanAfghanistan Premier League5
AustraliaBig Bash League8
BangladeshBangladesh Premier League8
CanadaGlobal T20 Canada6
EnglandVitality Blast18
Hong KongHong Kong T20 Blitz5
IndiaIndian Premier League, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy8, 37
IrelandInter-Provincial Trophy4
NetherlandsDutch Twenty20 Cup16
NepalEverest Premier League, Dhangadhi Premier League, Pokhara Premier League6, 6, 6
New ZealandSuper Smash6
PakistanPakistan Super League, National T20 Cup6, 18
ScotlandRegional Pro Series3
South AfricaRam Slam T20 Challenge, Mzansi Super League6, 6
Sri LankaLankan Premier League, Premier Twenty206,24
West IndiesCaribbean Premier League6
ZimbabweStanbic Bank 20 Series4


See also: List of Twenty20 International records


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