T20: Half Time, Double Euphoria

Cricket seems to be undergoing perpetual innovations – from test to one-day and now the T20, which has revolutionized cricket and added much more entertainment, drama and glamour to the sport.

The sport of cricket has indeed evolved much more than its contemporaries. Since the year 1844, when the first international cricket match was played, the game has come a long way, never failing to take the world by storm. Especially in a country like India, where cricket is no more a sport, but a religion. Cricket is the reason why players like Sachin Tendulkar have become more than just heroes in their country. They are like Gods, with a huge cult following. They are an inspiration and a role-model for millions of youngsters not only in India but the world over.

The first ever cricket tournaments were all held in the Test Cricket format, going on for about five days. From these test matches were born the one-day matches, which subsequently out-did Test Cricket in popularity. Since they were of a short duration, the game was much faster and, therefore, much more thrilling. However, the latest revolution in cricket has been the 20-20 cricket matches. Commonly known as the T20, it shot to popularity with the very first match, so much so that T20 now has its own World Cup!

The first ever ICC T20 World Cup was held in 2007 at South Africa, from 11 to 14 September. All cricket teams participated in the tournament, including Kenya and Scotland. The 2007 T20 World Cup was a historical moment for all Indian cricket lovers, as the tournament was won by India, who also became the first T20 World Cup champions. The final match played between India and Pakistan was phenomenal, with India playing an exceptional innings, defeating Pakistan by 5 runs and 5 wickets.

With the success of the 2007 ICC T20 World Cup, it began to be held every two years. The second T20 World Cup was held in 2009 at England, from 5 to 21 June. This time it was Pakistan, the last World Cup’s runners-up, who became the champions, defeating Sri Lanka by 8 wickets in the final held at Lord’s London.

The primary reason why T20 is so popular among cricket fans is because of the drama and the thrill which the forty overs deliver. Since each side gets only twenty overs, the pace of the game is very fast. Every over is action-packed and every inning is a knock-out. Without a single dull moment, it manages to keep the spectators at the edge of their seat throughout. Personally, what attracts me to T20 is the unpredictability factor. You never know what turn the game is going to take. Since the time-span of the game is short, a single moment can make or break the game for a team. It has you chewing on your fingernails till the very last ball.

The T20 World Cups have also seen some of the most spectacular innings by players. It was in the 2007 T20 World Cup when Yuvraj Singh hit 6 sixes continuously in a single over. In the same tournament, Chris Gayle from West Indies hit 117 runs off just 57 balls, creating the record for the highest individual score in the T20.

Being an Indian and a hard-core patriot, it is needless to say that my favourite team is the ‘Men in Blue’- the Indian team. Patriotic reasons aside, I like the Indian team because of the passion and aggression with which they play the game. The present Indian team is probably the best it has ever been. The Young Brigade, led by skipper M.S. Dhoni along with experienced players like Sachin Tendulkar and Sehwag have definitely shown the world that the Indians are unstoppable.

The 2010 T20 World Cup is all set to be held at West Indies. And there is no doubt that just like the previous World Cups, this one too will go down in history and deliver some brilliant performances. My best wishes to all the participating teams.

Neehar Mishra

[Image courtesy: http://gutfeel.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/t20.jpg]