Ranking the best T20 domestic leagues
T20 has become the crown jewel of domestic cricket. While many still deem the Test scene as the most important format at international level, the money involved and the number of star players that are attracted to various domestic T20 leagues around the world highlights the significance of the 20-over format. The top players in the world now tend to hop from tournament to tournament as they look to maximise their earning potential.
We cover a wide array of cricket at TSZ and with the current lull in action, we have decided to take a look at what we deem as the top five T20 leagues. With many to choose from across the world, narrowing them down was a difficult task and leagues such as the Bangladesh Premier League and the Super Smash in New Zealand just miss out in this countdown:
1. Indian Premier League
In a close-run thing, our number one domestic T20 league in the world is the Indian Premier League (IPL). There was little to choose between this and the Big Bash League in Australia but the IPL edges it with the rules they have in place regarding the make-up of each squad allowing the competition to not only attract a higher calibre of player, but to be able to accommodate a greater number. Teams are allowed to sign a maximum of eight overseas players, with up to four of those able to play in each game. Squads must be between 18 and 25 players with a salary cap in place of US$12m and each franchise can dictate how that is spent. One of the other main rules is that players under 19 cannot be picked unless they have played first-class or List A cricket and while that in theory lifts the quality of the competition, it does prevent younger players from potentially breaking through if they have little experience under their belt.
Players can be acquired by three different methods, with the player auction something that garners a lot of interest before the tournament begins. Players can also be traded during the competition or replacements picked-up due to players being unavailable. The current incarnation of the tournament sees eight teams compete and they all sign players to one-year contracts but they can be extended to allow each team to retain a core group of players. Of those eight teams, five have won the title with Mumbai Indians proving to be the most successful with four titles. They have been helped by the leading wicket-taker in IPL history in the form of Sri Lanka’s legendary Lasith Malinga who boasts 170 wickets.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, leading the way with the bat is India’s Virat Kohli with 5,412 runs to date. The talismanic Kohli is a genuine global superstar and his presence is significant with him opting not to compete in any other domestic T20 tournament. The Indian skipper will again lead Royal Challengers Bangalore when the next competition makes its delayed start after it was postponed due to the outbreak of coronavirus. The squads for that competition have already been determined and Kohli will be joined by some other hugely talented players and star names. Kane Williamson, Ishant Sharma, Chris Gayle, KL Rahul, Quinton de Kock, David Warner, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Steve Smith are just a handful of eye-catching names to grace the tournament in what is effectively a gathering of some of the best players in the world.
Some of those listed above highlighted their ability in the last edition of the tournament. Australian Warner ended as the top-scorer with 692, followed by one of the local favourites Rahul who notched 593 while new South Africa captain de Kock finished with 529. Working down the list is like a "who’s who?" of cricket stars and it is a similar theme with the bowlers. Imran Tahir topped the charts with 26 wickets closely followed by Kagiso Rabada, with the Proteas start taking 25. A little further down the list with 19 wickets was Jasprit Bumrah with two of those coming in the final as he picked up the player of the match award. His effort helped Mumbai to a one-run victory in a scintillating final that was decided with the last ball of the tournament. Malinga held his nerve with the final delivery as his removal of Shardul Thakur handed the Indians their record-breaking victory over Chennai Super Kings.
The quality of that final wrapped-up a superb tournament in style and despite the delayed start to this year’s competition, a look back at it only serves to highlight the quality on show and how much cricket fans have to look forward to when it does eventually commence.
The most-attended cricket league in the world and for good reason as it is littered with some of the biggest stars in the world who put on a show for millions watching across the globe.