The T20 format — the game’s shortest format — has taken the world by storm. Since the format’s inception in 2003, it has gained a lot of admiration among cricket fans. And this admiration is reaching new heights with the advent of popular T20 leagues around the world.
After the IPL’s success and widespread influence, many T20 leagues cropped up across the world to attract the cricket audience. And these fans are the reason behind these top league’s popularity on the global stage.
So, in this article, I will list the 10 most popular T20 leagues in the world.
1. Indian Premier League (IPL)
Without any doubt, the IPL has to be the most popular league in the world. Why? Well, it has everything — star players, money, entertainment, you name it.
After the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) inaugurated the IPL in 2008. Since its inception, the league has produced some of the most thrilling matches, which are still fresh in many fan’s minds. Moreover, the league has also unearthed some underrated players who later went on to represent India.
Due to the unreal craze for the IPL, many state cricket associations in India have come up with their own state leagues like the TNPL, Maharaja Trophy, and MPL.
Currently, the IPL is the biggest T20 league in the world in terms of monetary valuation. And it is highly unlikely any league will come this close to the IPL.
Also Read | How Does the IPL Auction Work? – Explained
2. Big Bash League (BBL)
After the skyrocketing popularity of the IPL, Cricket Australia (CA) started the Big Bash League (BBL) by replacing the KFC Twenty20 Big Bash in 2011. The BBL provides a top-notch experience for cricket fans in the Australian summer.
The Australian league is famous for its breathtaking matches, mind-blowing performances, and wonderful crowd experience. To produce some world-class performances, the BBL has revamped its format.
3. Pakistan Super League (PSL)
Launched in 2016, the PSL has gained tremendous popularity in its country in a short period of time. The league is providing an excellent platform for their domestic players to hone their skills.
Initially, the league was held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) owing to security concerns. In recent years, the Pakistan Cricket Board has successfully hosted the PSL in Pakistan, helping it gain a broader audience.
4. T20 Blast
The T20 Blast is the oldest T20 league in the world. In 2003, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) introduced the cricket world to the fast-paced and exciting format with the inception of the T20 Blast.
Since then, the T20 Blast has entertained ardent fans of cricket with its nail-biting matches between 18 county teams. Although the league was launched even before the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, it couldn’t pick up the pace as the IPL did.
After many failed attempts, Cricket South Africa (CSA) finally launched its premier T20 league — the SA20 — in 2023. In the first season itself, the league managed to pull a huge crowd to the grounds, making it one of the most popular T20 leagues in a shorter period.
The SA20 consists of 6 franchise teams, which are all owned by IPL team owners. This has also helped the league garner views from India.
6. Caribbean Premier League (CPL)
The CPL is known as the Carnival of Cricket in the Caribbean Islands. And the league lives up to that craze, as fans get to witness some powerful performances from the Caribbean heavyweights and international players.
The West Indies Cricket Board flagged off the CPL in 2013 with 6 teams, 3 of them owned by IPL team owners. Trinbago Knight Riders, owned by KKR, have won the league the most number of times.
7. Lanka Premier League (LPL)
Although the LPL was started in 2020, the league has grabbed the eyeballs of cricket fans in the sub-continent. Over the years, many big international players like Babar Azam, David Miller, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Gayle, and Andre Russell have graced the field in the LPL.
8. Major League Cricket (MLC)
In 2023, the cricket extravaganza reached the land of baseball — the United States of America (USA). After much anticipation, USA Cricket launched MLC in July 2023, with 6 franchises competing against each other.
The league was able to pull a large chunk of fans to the stadium, where cricket is less prevalent. Going forward, many fans will be engrossed as the MLC reaches the masses in one of the largest sports markets in the world.
9. UAE’s International League T20 (ILT20)
UAE’s ILT20 is the latest entrant into the world of popular T20 leagues. The league sanctioned by the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) is making waves with some world-class performances from both international and local players.
Moreover, the ILT20 is providing a platform for their local players to rub shoulders with renowned international players. The league will grow manifold in the future as many big names sign up to take part in the exhilarating ILT20.
10. Bangladesh Premier League (BPL)
The BPL, which started in 2012, is involved in controversies every now and then — either over poor umpiring standards or off-field issues. However, the league has garnered a substantial fan following in the cricket-crazy nation of Bangladesh.
Bonus: The Hundred
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) introduced yet another league, although with a truncated format. To attract a younger audience, the ECB came up with a new format — the Hundred — a 100-ball cricket league. Although one innings lasts for 100 balls, the matches still have T20 status.
The Hundred is making inroads in the UK, where traditional cricket has a massive fan following. However, the cricket world is divided over the league’s format, with cricket’s 3 different formats clashing with each other for their survival.
These 10 popular T20 leagues have helped revolutionise the cricketing world, with the gentlemen’s game reaching every nook and corner of the world. Moreover, all these leagues are only bound to rise in popularity with time.
Finally, let me know which T20 league is the most popular according to you in the comments below.