When it comes to limited-overs cricket, the ICC’s flagship event – the Cricket World Cup – is the pinnacle for all associate and affiliate members of the world body. In 2017 the ICC World Cup was staged in England, with India emerging victorious against Pakistan in a thrilling finale at the Kia Oval in London. But while India’s World Cup victory means they will remain top of the ODI rankings until June 2021, there’s another format of cricket that has captured the imagination of fans worldwide: T20.
The inaugural ICC T20 World Cup was staged back in 2010, with Australia triumphing over New Zealand in an enthralling final at Eden Park in Auckland. Now that we are approaching a new T20 World Cup tournament – currently scheduled to take place between February and March 2020 – it seems like a good time to review all previous ICC tournaments and rank them accordingly.
When it comes to celebrating the best T20 cricket tournament of all time, the inaugural ICC World T20 (which was held in England back in June and July 2010) is a top contender. While there are certainly a number of great T20 tournaments similar to what you get when you watch a TPL fixture that have been staged since the format was introduced back in 2003, the overall quality of cricket in the first T20 World Cup was simply outstanding.
The original ‘group of death’ at the 2010 T20 World Cup came in the form of Group B, which pitted India (the defending World Cup Champions at the time) against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in what was an extremely competitive group. In the end, the ICC World T20 was won by the West Indies, who defeated New Zealand in a thrilling final at Lord’s.
Nonetheless, the inaugural ICC World T20 is not only remembered for the stunning final, but also for the fact that it was the first time that many associate and affiliate members had ever played in a global cricket tournament. For example, Ireland had only been playing international cricket since July 2005, while Afghanistan’s debut in international cricket came four years later in October 2009.
The second edition of the ICC World T20 was staged in Australia in October and November 2010, with the host nation triumphing over England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The ICC World T20 played in Australia in 2010 was of a very high standard, with the reigning champions, the West Indies, taking on England, Australia and New Zealand in a very competitive group. In what was a highly entertaining tournament, the West Indies eventually progressed to the final and were narrowly defeated by England.
Although we are still yet to see a 2020 edition of the ICC World T20, there are a number of tournaments that could potentially be considered for a top spot in the countdown. The 2020 event could be the best ever T20 World Cup, depending on how the format is received and how the tournament is staged. The 2020 World Cup will be staged in Australia and New Zealand, with the format set to be played over just six weeks.
The decision to shorten the tournament was made by the ICC, and the governing body has already confirmed that the 2020 World Cup will feature just 10 teams. Part of the reasoning behind reducing the number of teams involved in the tournament was to help reduce costs, but it also means that the ICC World T20 2020 will be the first T20 World Cup since the format was introduced in 2003 to not feature any associate or affiliate members.
Whilst the inaugural ICC World T20 is undoubtedly one of the best T20 World Cups to be played, the first ICC Cricket World Cup (which was held in England in May and June 2007) is arguably the greatest Cricket World Cup of all time.
While the 2007 World Cup was a largely one-sided affair, there was still plenty of drama, with some outstanding individual performances, record-breaking moments and an all-time low score (in terms of runs) in a final that has now become an iconic moment in the history of cricket. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 was won by Australia, who defeated West Indies by 3 wickets in a thrilling and dramatic final at The Oval in London.
It remains to be seen whether the 2020 ICC World T20 will be remembered as being a tournament that was as competitive and high quality as the original edition, or if it will go on to be one of the best T20 World Cups ever played. However, if there is one tournament that could potentially challenge the original ICC World T20 in terms of quality, it is the 2011 ICC World T20.
The 2011 ICC World T20 was an excellent tournament, in which many associate and affiliate members were given an opportunity to compete against full members. When considering which T20 World Cup was the best of all time, the overall quality of cricket played, the format and scheduling of the tournament, as well as the fact that the 2011 event featured some associate and affiliate members for the very first time, suggests that the 2011 World T20 should be celebrated as the best of all time.
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