It’s no secret that cricket isn’t a beloved sport in the US. Compared to the likes of American football, basketball, and baseball, it’s small. Even soccer is carving out a lane to compete against the traditionally dominant US sports.
If cricket is set to break into North America, the Twenty/20 format will be at the forefront of the revolution as it’s short, snappy, and full of action. For anyone wanting to acquaint themselves with the newest member of the cricket fraternity this year, here are the tournaments that should be adrenaline-fueled.
T20 World Cup
Like any World Cup, the T20 version is the culmination of hard work and sacrifice. 16 nations will aim to leave India as the specialist white-ball champions, particularly as the competition has plenty of esteem nowadays. Previously, countries viewed it as a lot of fun but not much else, whereas now it’s a bona fide opportunity to earn silverware on the international stage.
Although there are teams that don’t appear to add anything to the contest – the fact that Namibia is 1500/1 outsiders says it all – at least 50% of the entrants have a realistic shot at claiming the trophy. India are favorites due to their home advantage, yet the England team is snapping at their heels and could easily win their second T20 World Cup in the last 11 years. Australia, the runners up in 2010, won’t ease up either, and New Zealand have been in excellent form under Kane Williamson.
Of course, you can never count out Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies, and Sri Lanka, which is why the championship should really take off once the opening group stages are out of the way.
Pakistan Super League
Pakistan has been casting envious glances at the neighboring Indian Premier League for around a decade as the IPL has come to dominate the T20 structure. Not to be outdone, the Pakistanis have hit back with their Twenty/20 league, the Pakistan Super League or PSL. It’s nowhere near the size of the IPL yet, but the figures are healthy enough for former players such as Australia’s Brad Hogg to award both competitions a rating of nine out of ten.
Both 9 out of 10. The PSL has been the most prevalent of late because it has bought the game back to Pakistan. The IPL has the most interest in viewership worldwide. https://t.co/7jf5ulmCzQ
— Brad Hogg (@Brad_Hogg) March 15, 2020
The money and viewerships are smaller, but this is something to champion because it means the sport itself doesn’t get lost in the financial complications. Dale Steyn, a South African legend, has already commented on the relationship between the IPL and the cash involved. Cricket is the winner in the PSL as franchises and teams are playing mainly for love and enjoyment, not a massive payday.
As a result, the biggest names are signed up for the 2021 contest in Pakistan, with the bookies ranking Karachi Kings at 11/4 to take the outright victory. Still, at 11/4 and 10/3, Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United will have plenty to say about the outcome.
England’s newest T20 tournament is ready and raring to go this year, making it one of the most anticipated domestic competitions since the IPL, Big Bash, and PSL. As you would expect, all the leading names of the sport are signed up, from Jos Buttler and Steve Smith to Kagiso Rabada and Ben Stokes.
While there is no historic form to consider, the cricket betting suggests the entire championship will be close because the favorites are pretty long odds at 5/1. To put it into perspective, the least fancied side, Welsh Fire, are 7/1 to win it outright. Anything could happen, and it’s the unpredictable nature of the cricket that should make for entertaining and compelling viewing from July to the penultimate Saturday in August.
T20 cricket is the format to get your teeth into if you’re new to the sport and want to ease yourself into the experience. With three incredible competitions this year, including the World Cup, there are plenty of opportunities to familiarize yourself with the game.
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