T20 cricket is fast paced and exceedingly lucrative for the players, sponsors and franchise owners. Journeymen like Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen and Marlon Daniels have plied their trade all over the world, thrilling huge audiences in the process. It’s ODI cricket on ‘speed’ and at just 90 minutes per innings, it’s the ICC’s answer to instant gratification.
With Nigeria poised to compete in the 2019 ICC World Twenty20 Africa Regional Finals it’s a good time to unpack some of the more fascinating facts of the shortened form of the game. Here are interesting snippets about the players, leagues and money men who have propelled T20 into the world spotlight:
Comparable to Popular Team Sports
At around three hours in duration, T20 cricket was conceived to rival team sports like football, baseball and rugby. Each innings is 90 minutes in length - which equates to full time on a football pitch - and there’s a brief ten-minute break between innings. Compare that with a Major League baseball game which lasts two hours and 58 minutes and T20 has indeed achieved its mandate.
IPL: Major Money Generator
As the slog, smash and grab format of the game, T20 has spawned a host of domestic competitions. None is more popular than the Indian Premier League (IPL), a brand that’s currently valued at $5.3 billion. IPL franchise owners include global conglomerates, Bollywood stars and billionaire industrialists.
The highest-ever salary paid to a player in the history of the competition was the INR 17 Crore paid to Virat Kohli, Indian captain and premier batsman for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2018. At today’s exchange rate that’s more than ₦850 million or $2,3 million… not bad for six weeks work!
All-Time T20 Records
Kohli is not only one of the richest cricketers in the world, he’s one of the most talented. His prowess with the bat is legendary as is evident from a T20 batting average of 86.33 runs. To date, the wizard of Wisden has scored 777 runs in just 16 matches!
Big-hitting West Indian batsman Chris Gayle holds the T20 record for the most sixes. The flamboyant entertainer has smashed 100 balls over the ropes. At the 2017-18 Bangladeshi Premier League, Gayle whacked a record 18 sixes in just one innings.
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Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi has the all-time T20 wickets record, claiming 98 scalps in a career that spanned 12 years. The highest T20 run scorer is Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene who accumulated 1016 runs between 2006 and 2014.
Single Biggest Investor in T20 Cricket
Long before the IPL, American billionaire Allen Stanford pumped more than $28 million into the Stanford 20/20. The winner of the competition banked $1 million in prize money.
Stanford also bankrolled the Stanford Super Series, an international competition that paid out $20 million to the winner of each game! The big hitting, big money action came to a screeching halt when Stanford was found guilty on several counts of fraud. He’s currently serving a 110-year jail sentence in a federal prison!
The Super Over
If there’s a tie in World T20 cricket, the match is decided in a Super Over. Each team nominates one bowler and three batsmen. The team with the highest score at the end of the over wins the match.
To date, there have only been three tied matches in World T20. The highest score achieved in a Super Over was 19 for 0 by… guess who? Chris Gayle of course with a little help from Marlon Samuels. The two crushed the hopes of New Zealand during the 2012 World T20 tournament.
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