In the professional game, limited overs cricket has long been popular, but Twenty20 cricket (or T20) has revolutionized cricket in recent years. Before the advent of Twenty20 the shortest one-day format had been 40-over cricket, which first became popular from the late 1960s onwards.

Twenty20 Cricket – The Basics 

Each of the two sides in a Twenty20 match has a single innings, and each batting side is limited to 20 overs (unless a side is dismissed before their allocated number of overs has been reached). Because a typical Twenty20 game will only last around three hours, it’s possible to fit more than one game into a single day at the same venue.

The First Twenty20 Competition 

2003 saw the introduction of Twenty20 cricket by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in the shape of the Twenty20 Cup. Competing teams were made up from existing first-class counties, but they were also given more colourful names, i.e. the Surrey Lions, who were the first Twenty20 Cup winners.

Rules Of Twenty20 Cricket 

As with other types of limited overs cricket, bowlers are restricted as to how many overs they can bowl. For Twenty20 cricket no bowler can bowl more than 4 over in an innings (i.e. a bowler can only bowl up to a fifth of the total 20 overs). If a game’s duration becomes shortened due to bad weather, then the maximum amount of overs bowlers can bowl will also be affected.

If a bowler bowls a no-ball, then one run is added to the batting side’s total, as well as the bowler’s next ball being a free hit. A batsman also can’t be given out caught, bowled, lbw, stumped, or hit wicket, as would normally be the case if any of these forms of dismissal occur during a free hit.

A maximum number of five fielders are allowed on the leg-side. While, during the powerplay (first six overs), no more than two fielders may be outside of the 30-yard circle. At the end of the sixth over of an innings five fielders at most may be outside of the circle.

Notable Twenty20 Matches 

The shorter the format of the game the greater the chance of an upset. One notable example of this came in the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup when Zimbabwe beat a great Australian side by five wickets, with Zimbabwe’s opener Brendan Taylor smashing an unbeaten 80. Another of the biggest shocks at a T20 World Cup came when the Netherlands defeated England in 2009.

Even great bowlers can also be made to look inadequate in a Twenty20 game – as England fast bowler Stuart Broad can testify. At the 2009 T20 World Cup, Broad was hit for a staggering six sixes in a single over by Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh.

The very first T20 World Cup final was also one of the greatest T20 international matches. In the 2007 final, India defeated Pakistan by the slender margin of just 5 runs.