Love it or hate it, it seems that T20, or Twenty20 cricket is here to stay. The game can infuriate the purists, but excites the crowds that cricket desperately needs for its survival as a spectator sport.
According to numerous sources, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) first discussed the idea of a shortened format of the game, at a professional level, in 1998, as a replacement for one of its one-day domestic competition, the Benson & Hedges Cup, which was due to end in 2002.
In 2003, the Board introduced an inter-county professional competition with both teams having a single innings for a maximum of 20 overs. The first official T20 matches were played on June 13, 2003 between English counties in the Twenty20 Cup. The first Twenty20 game at Lord's was held on July 15 2004, between Middlesex and Surrey. It attracted a crowd of 26,500, the largest audience for any county cricket game other than a one-day final, since 1953.
T20 then successfully spread across the cricketing world, with Australia and South Africa next embracing it. India was among the last ICC Test nation to adopt it domestically, with it only taking hold there following the country’s win at the inaugural World T20 Cup in South Africa, in September 2007.
The domestic T20 leagues spawned the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20). After a couple of false starts, the inaugural tournament was held, in India, in 2009, and won by the New South Wales Blues. Subsequently the Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians have been victories.
South Africa hosted the first International Cricket Council T20 World Cup in 2007. While India won, the tournament will also be remembered for the first-ever Twenty20 International hundred, which was scored by Chris Gayle, and Yuvraj Singh hitting six sixes in one over against England.
Pakistan won in England in 2009, defeating Sri Lanka in the final at Lord's, although Tillakaratne Dilshan won the Player of the Tournament Award.
In 2009, the first ever women's tournament was also held alongside the men's event, with double headers of matches played at the semi-finals and final stage. England won the tournament after defeating New Zealand.
In 2010, England's men captured its first-ever ICC global title, defeating Australia by seven wickets in the final, while Australia's women won a close final against New Zealand by three runs.
The ICC World Twenty20 2012 will be held in Sri Lanka, during September and October, with 12 teams participating, the 10 Full Members and two qualifiers will take part in the men's event, while eight teams will contest the women's tournament. You may even see some Singapore Cricket Club members there!