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From Gayle’s first strike to a 20-team spectacle: The evolution of ICC Men’s T20 World Cup

dhoni yuvrajFrom the moment Chris Gayle scythed the first delivery of the inaugural ICC Men’s T20 World Cup for four, a new form of entertainment was born.

The West Indies batter ushered in a new era for cricket with a sizzling 117 against South Africa, the first of countless unforgettable T20 World Cup moments.

For the first time, 20 teams will participate in this year’s Men’s T20 World Cup with a new host and three new teams set to make their bow on the biggest stage.

Ahead of the ninth instalment of the tournament, let’s take a look back at its past.

A behemoth is born

Four years after T20 cricket had been introduced within the English county game, the first T20 World Cup took place in 2007, catapulting the novel format into the mainstream at a time when the global leagues of today were yet to come into existence.

Two weeks of intoxicating cricket ended with a final for the ages between arch-rivals India and Pakistan in Johannesburg.

Misbah-ul-Haq dragged Pakistan to the brink of victory but a mistimed scoop with just six runs required from four deliveries handed India the trophy.

A dramatic ending put the seal on what Wisden described as a ‘dream’ debut tournament as the new format became an instant hit.

Legends created and memorable moments

From Yuvraj Singh to Carlos Brathwaite, there has been no shortage of spectacular ICC Men’s T20 World Cup moments.

Yuvraj’s six sixes from the bowling of Stuart Broad is still unmatched while the India-Pakistan, bowl-out match from the group stage of the inaugural tournament also stands alone for its absurdity.

Pakistan earned revenge for their 2007 final defeat at Lord’s two years later, which was earlier the scene of one of the great World Cup shocks when Netherlands upset hosts England.

England bounced back quickly to win their first white-ball silverware a year later in the Caribbean.

The West Indies then lit up Colombo with their ‘Gangnam Style’ inspired celebrations in the 2012 final, before beaten finalists Sri Lanka made it third time lucky in 2014, a fitting T20 swansong for legendary pair Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

After five different winners across the first five tournaments, the Windies became the first team to win two Men’s T20 World Cups after Brathwaite’s last-over heroics broke English hearts, the batter striking four consecutive sixes off the bowling of Ben Stokes to seal a four-wicket win.

Despite their dominance at ODI World Cups, Australia had to wait until 2021 to lift their first T20 World Cup, leaving New Zealand as the only finalists yet to win heading into 2024.

England are the holders after their win in Australia two years ago, when Player of the Tournament Sam Curran produced a Player of the Match display to see off Pakistan in the final.

More teams than ever before

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 will break new ground with 20 teams competing for the first time ever.

It will also be the first ICC World Cup tournament to feature matches played in the United States and with 55 games in store, it will be the biggest cricket tournament in ICC history.

Three new teams will be welcomed to the top table, with hosts the United States, Canada and Uganda all participating in their maiden T20 World Cup tournament.

With new faces and new pitches to get to know, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 promises to be more unpredictable and unforgettable than ever before.


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