Background

When the Benson & Hedges Cup ended in 2002, the ECB needed another one day competition to fill its place. Cricketing authorities were looking to boost the game's popularity with the younger generation in response to dwindling crowds and reduced sponsorship. It was intended to deliver fast-paced, exciting cricket accessible to thousands of fans who were put off by the longer versions of the game. Stuart Robertson, the marketing manager of the ECB, proposed a 20 over per innings game to county chairmen in 2001 and they voted 11–7 in favour of adopting the new format.

Regional tournaments

The first official Twenty20 matches were played on 13 June 2003 between the English counties in the Twenty20 Cup. The first season of Twenty20 in England was a relative success, with the Surrey Lions defeating the Warwickshire Bears by 9 wickets in the final to claim the title. The first Twenty20 match held at Lord's, on 15 July 2004 between Middlesex and Surrey, attracted a crowd of 27,509, the largest attendance for any county cricket game at the ground other than a one-day final since 1953.

Soon after with the adoption of Twenty20 matches by other cricket boards, the popularity of the format grew with unexpected crowd attendance, new regional tournaments such as Pakistan's Faysal Bank T20 Cup and Stanford 20/20 tournament and the financial incentive in the format.

The West Indies regional teams competed in what was named the Stanford 20/20 tournament. The event was financially backed by convicted fraudster Allen Stanford, who gave at least US$28,000,000 funding money, the fruit of his massive Ponzi scheme. It was intended that the tournament would be an annual event. Guyana won the inaugural event, defeating Trinidad and Tobago by 5 wickets, securing US$1,000,000 in prize money. A spin-off tournament, the Stanford Super Series, was held in October 2008 between Middlesex and Trinidad and Tobago, the respective winners of the English and Caribbean Twenty20 competitions, and a Stanford Superstars team formed from West Indies domestic players; Trinidad and Tobago won the competition, securing US$280,000 prize money. On 1 November, the Stanford Superstars played England in what was expected to be the first of five fixtures in as many years with the winner claiming a US$20,000,000 in each match.

Twenty20 Internationals

On 17 February 2005 Australia defeated New Zealand in the first men's full international Twenty20 match, played at Eden Park in Auckland. The game was played in a light-hearted manner – both sides turned out in kit similar to that worn in the 1980s, the New Zealand team's a direct copy of that worn by the Beige Brigade. Some of the players also sported moustaches/beards and hair styles popular in the 1980s taking part in a competition amongst themselves for best retro look, at the request of the Beige Brigade. Australia won the game comprehensively, and as the result became obvious towards the end of the NZ innings, the players and umpires took things less seriously – Glenn McGrath jokingly replayed the Trevor Chappell underarm incident from a 1981 ODI between the two sides, and Billy Bowden showed him a mock red card (red cards are not normally used in cricket) in response.

Inaugural tournaments

It was first decided that every two years an ICC World Twenty20 tournament is to take place, except in the event of an Cricket World Cup being scheduled in the same year, in which case it will be held the year before. The first tournament was in 2007 in South Africa where India defeated Pakistan in the final. Two Associate teams had played in the first tournament, selected through the 2007 ICC World Cricket League Division One, a 50-over competition. In December 2007 it was decided to hold a qualifying tournament with a 20-over format to better prepare the teams. With six participants, two would qualify for the 2009 World Twenty20 and would each receive $250,000 in prize money.The second tournament was won by Pakistan who beat Sri Lanka by 8 wickets in England on 21 June 2009. The 2010 ICC World Twenty20 tournament was held in West Indies in May 2010, where England defeated Australia by 7 wickets. The 2012 ICC World Twenty20 was won by the West-Indies, by defeating Sri Lanka at the finals. For the first time, a host nation competed in the final of the ICC World Twenty20. There were 12 participants for the title including Ireland and Afghanistan as 2012 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier. It was the first time the T20 World Cup tournament took place in an Asian country.

Expansion to 16 teams

The 2012 edition was to be expanded into a 16 team format however this was reverted to 12. The 2014 tournament, held in Bangladesh was the first to feature 16 teams including all ten full members and six associate members who qualified through the 2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier. However the top eight full member teams in the ICC T20I Championship rankings on 8 October 2012 were given a place in the Super 10 stage. The remaining eight teams competed in the group stage, from which two teams advance to the Super 10 stage. Three new teams (Nepal, Hong Kong and UAE) made their debut in this tournament.

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