Following India’s unexpected victory in the 2007 T20 World Cup, the 20-over format took off in incredible fashion. The now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) was launched in 2007 and had some big names like Chris Cairns and Lance Klusener. It was the first domestic T20 league in India
However, with no recognition from the BCCI, it fizzled out within a couple of years.
The BCCI themselves launched the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 amid plenty of fanfare. This has gone on to become the biggest T20 competition in the world. Ten teams took part in the 2022 edition, and the whopping media rights sale for the 2023-2027 cycle has made IPL the second most valuable sporting league after the NFL. The unprecedented success of the IPL has seen other countries launch their own T20 competitions, although none have been able to replicate the popularity of the IPL. We give you a lowdown of major T20 leagues across the globe.
1. Big Bash League (Australia): In terms of popularity, Australia’s Big Bash League comes closest to the IPL, though one must admit that there is a yawning gap in between. The BBL was established in 2011 by Cricket Australia. It features eight city-based franchises with teams representing Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, etc. The winner of BBL gets $450,000. Perth Scorchers are the defending champions in the BBL. Commendably, Cricket Australia also started the Women’s BBL in the 2015-16 season.
2. Vitality Blast (England): The Vitality Blast began as the Twenty20 Cup back in 2003. It is recognized as the first professional Twenty20 league in the world. A total of 18 first-class counties compete for the title. They are divided into two groups of nine teams each. The group stage games are followed by the knockouts – quarterfinals, semi-finals and final. Hampshire Hawks are the defending champions in the Vitality Blast. They defeated Lancashire Lightning by one run in 2022 final. The prize money for the 2022 champions was £175,000.
3. Caribbean Premier League (West Indies): Two-time T20 World Cup champions West Indies also have a T20 competition, which is reasonably popular. The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) began in 2013 and has been held yearly. The tournament includes six franchises representing Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. The six teams play 10 league games, which are followed by the semis and the final. Trinbago Knight Riders have won 4 titles while St Kitts & Nevis Patriots are the defending champions. St Kitts and Nevis Patriots won Rs 7.5 crore as prize money for lifting the CPL trophy.
4. Pakistan Super League (Pakistan): Pakistan’s T20 competition, the Pakistan Super League (PSL), got underway in 2016. Six teams representing Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and Quetta feature in the T20 competition. Each team plays 10 matches in the first round, which is followed by a Qualifier, 2 Eliminators and the final. Lahore Qalandars are defending champions in the PSL. They defeated Multan Sultans by 42 runs in PSL 2022. Lahore walked away with PKR 80 million (INR 3.40 crore approx.) for winning PSL 2022.
5. Super Smash (New Zealand): Even New Zealand has been organizing its own T20 competition since 2005-06. It began as the New Zealand Twenty20 Competition and has changed names over the years due to sponsorship reasons. Six teams – Auckland Aces, Canterbury Kings, Central Stags, Northern Brave, Otago Volts and Wellington Firebirds – take part in the event. Each team plays 10 matches in the league stage, followed by the elimination final and final. Auckland Aces and Wellington Firebirds are the most successful franchises, with 4 titles each. Northern Brave are the defending champions. They have won the championship thrice. The winners of the 2021-22 edition walked away with $100,000.
6. Lanka Premier League (Sri Lanka): Sri Lanka began their own version of the T20 domestic competition in 2020. Unfortunately, the tournament had to be postponed multiple times since it was the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with activities across the globe coming to a halt. It was eventually held in November-December. Five teams take part in the event representing Colombo, Dambulla, Galle, Jaffna and Kandy. Jaffna Stallions won the inaugural edition, beating Galle Gladiators by 53 runs. The franchise had a new name for the 2021 season. They again won the championship, beating Galle Gladiators by 23 runs this time. The prize money for champions in LPL is $100,000.
7. Bangladesh Premier League (Bangladesh): The Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) began in 2012. Six teams – Comilla Victorians, Fortune Barishal, Chattogram Challengers, Khulna Tigers, Minister Dhaka and Sylhet Sunrisers – take part in the T20 competition. Again, in the league stage, the teams play a total of 10 games. The knockout round includes an Eliminator, two Qualifiers and the grand final. Comilla Victorians beat Fortune Barishal by 1 run in 2022 final. They are the most successful franchise with three titles. The 2022 BPL champions won $850,000 as prize money.
Upcoming T20 leagues
Following the grand success of IPL and the popularity of a few other T20 leagues, Cricket South Africa and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are also coming up with their T20 championships. The South African T20 league is likely to take place in January-February 2023 and will include six teams – Joburg Super Kings, MI Cape Town, Paarl Royals, Pretoria Capitals, RPSG Durban and Sunrisers Eastern Cape. As evident by the names, all six teams have been purchased by IPL franchise owners.
The UAE league, which has been christened as International League T20 (ILT20), is also set to begin in January 2023. Six franchises will be part of the league – Abu Dhabi Knight Riders, Desert Vipers, Dubai Capitals, Gulf Giants, MI Emirates and Sharjah Warriors. Apart from Desert Vipers, all other teams are again owned by IPL franchise owners. The standout feature of the league is that here nine out of eleven in a playing XI can be overseas cricketers. Also, the T20 league is set to offer $450,000 contracts for top players.
Euro T20 Slam (Ireland, Netherlands and Scotland), Nepal T20 League and Major League Cricket (USA) are other T20 franchise competitions which are also set to begin in the near future.