T20 cricket is the shortest format of international cricket and it is the evenest battleground for big and small teams alike, due to its nature.
Teams that fell behind in terms of quality and strength can compete well in this format. The best example is the West Indies, who left behind their best times in the other two formats long ago, have won two T20 World Cups.
The dominant South Asian trio of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have won one each while England is the other team apart from these to lift the trophy.
The first edition of the T20 World Cup in 2007 in South Africa will be remembered for two special reasons. On one hand, both the finalists - India and Pakistan, were Asian nations; on the other hand, nobody really thought they could achieve the feat as both of them had a terrible 50-overs World Cup campaign.
Nevertheless, India had a special run during that tournament beating teams like South Africa, England, Australia and Pakistan on their way to lift the trophy.
From Yuvraj Singh’s 6 sixes in an over to the dramatic win by 5 runs in the last over of the game against Pakistan-- India had things falling into place for them throughout the tournament.
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s gamble of bringing in Joginder Sharma for the last over of the game to defend 13 runs against an upbeat Misbah-ul-Haq will remain as the highlight of the tournament alongside that 36 runs over by Yuvraj.
Under the captaincy of Younis Khan, Pakistan showed their consistency by reaching the final of the next edition of the T20 World Cup in 2009-- their second fina straightaway.
Interestingly, this was another all-Asian final as Pakistan found Sri Lanka as their opponent this time. Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan was in tremendous form throughout the tournament, however, couldn’t lift his nation as Shahid Afridi's all-round performance (50 off 40 with the bat and 1/20 with the ball) saw Pakistan over the line in the final game.
The next edition of the T20 World Cup was held just a year apart. England brought home the trophy putting an end to their ICC trophy drought finally.
England won the final comfortably on the back of a fine innings by Craig Kieswetter (63 off 49 deliveries), beating Australia by 7 wickets. Kevin Petersen's contribution with the bat earned him the player of the tournament that edition while Graeme Swann was phenomenal throughout the tournament for England with a stingy economy rate of 6.54.
The Windies came all out in the 4th edition of the T20 World Cup as they lift the trophy by beating the host Sri Lanka in the finals. The final game of that tournament will be remembered for Marlon Samuels’ classy 78 runs innings that helped the Windies side to have a fighting capital on the board.
However, that 138 run target proved too heavy for the Lankans as Sunil Narine’s 3 for 9 spearheaded through the Lankan batting order.
But Sri Lanka didn’t lose hope, neither the rhythm they had in the previous tournament as they came out victorious in the 5th edition of the T20 World Cup in 2014.
The final was once again an all-Asian battle with India being the other team. Virat Kohli’s phenomenal tournament along with his fine innings of 78 runs in the final was undone for a sluggish Yuvraj Singh innings. Sri Lanka chased down India’s 130 runs target comfortably, thanks to a responsible knock by Kumar Sangakkara.
However, the cricket fans around the world were happy for the Lankan triumph as the legendary trio of Sangakkara, Dilshan and Jayawardene finally won an ICC trophy after making it to the finals thrice before.
The latest edition of World T20 in 2016 was once again dominated by the Caribbeans. Led by Darran Sammy, the Windies won 2 titles in 4 years.
Having beaten hot favourite India in the semi-finals, the Windies were high in confidence going into the finals.
However, things were going England’s way in the final. Chasing a target of 156 runs, no West Indies batter could do justice to their names apart from Marlon Samuels, the hero of their previous title triumph.
His unbeaten 84 runs knock saw the match dragged towards the end and then it was all about Carlos Brathwaite heroics. West Indies needed 19 from the last over and Brathwaite hit 4 sixes off the first four deliveries of that Ben Stokes over to secure a famous victory for the Caribbeans.
Among the SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) countries, only England have won the T20 title. Contrary to that, all the big names from Asia have won it once each.
West Indies, the defending champions, winning two titles is no surprise since they have plenty of high profile T20 players playing franchise leagues around the world.
The Super 12 round of this edition starts tomorrow with the promise of some top quality competitions. While the previous champions will try to restore pride, those who haven’t won it yet will be desperate to cement their legacy.
Who will come out victorious? We wait till November 14 to know.