T20 (Twenty20) cricket is the most recent addition to internationally played cricket formats. It is also the most exciting. This is primarily because each innings lasts for only 20 overs, meaning that there is a massive increase in the speed at which the game progresses. Where in test cricket batsmen would have been content scoring 15 runs in the first 6 overs, in T20 cricket we see teams pushing to score at least 40-50 runs in those first 36 balls (some have even scored 100!). This is simply because of the fact that 20 overs is a very short time, and players don’t need to try and conserve their energy for that long. Hence, you often see world-renowned stars of the longer formats such as Michael Clarke and Cheteshwar Pujara struggle to keep up with the pace of T20 cricket.
Unlike test cricket, T20 cricket is played at just 4 hours a game. It unfurls as follows:
- Team 1 comes out and bats until either 20 overs are up or they are bowled out.
- Team 2 comes out to bat, and attempts to chase Team 1’s score in 20 overs.
- If they chase it successfully, they win.
- If 20 overs are up (or they are bowled out) before they chase the score, they lose.
As with test cricket, the batting captain has the option of declaring whenever they see appropriate, but they usually never do. This is because in T20 cricket, every run counts (enough is never enough), and there is no added benefit from ending the innings before it has to be ended. Therefore, they just prefer to bat out the 20 overs.
However, T20 cricket isn’t just flourishing at the international level. About every cricket playing nation now has its own domestic T20 tournament, most popular of which is the cash-abundant Pepsico IPL.