Bangalore: It's been seven and a half years since New Zealand and Australia played the first Twenty20 International, in February 2005. More than 250 games later, it is safe to say that cricket's newest format has come on by leaps and bounds.
Initially designed in England to return interest in cricket among teenagers and attract newer audiences through a mix of sport and entertainment, Twenty20 cricket has today carved a niche for itself. It's no longer viewed as a hit-and-giggle version; Twenty20 cricket has evolved into a demanding format of extreme intensity, given that all the action is compressed within 40 overs and three hours of relentless sparring.
There was a great deal of interest, and a little bit of apprehension, when South Africa hosted the first ICC World Twenty20, in 2007. While most teams had played a few internationals, few could claim at that point to have mastered the format. As if to buttress that point, India pulled off a major coup by going all the way under Mahendra Singh Dhoni, despite having played just one Twenty20 international going into the tournament.