Fourteen years ago, Chris Gayle, arguably the greatest T20 cricketer of all time, scored a smashing century in the inaugural match of the 2007 ICC World T20 and set the tone for the rest of the tournament. Since then, T20 cricket has evolved a lot. Six more such tournaments have been held and it is now called the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.
The ongoing tournament is the first one being held in the UAE and Oman. For the first time, the world will watch a Trans-Tasman final in a T20 World Cup. With the final being just a couple of days away, let us look back at how things panned out in the tournament and how similar or different they have been from those of the previous editions.
As surprising as it seems, the inaugural T20 World Cup taking place in South Africa saw the highest scoring rate in the history of the tournament. Teams went at almost eight runs an over (7.99) in the first edition. The 2014 T20 World Cup in Bangladesh saw one of the lowest scoring rates in the history of the tournament (7.53). The next edition of the tournament took place in India which saw quite a few high-scoring games and the average run rate was the second-highest in World Cups- 7.78.
In the ongoing edition, the number of high-scoring affairs was much less than the previous tournaments and unsurprisingly the scoring rate of 7.4 is the lowest in the history of the tournament.
Sixes per match
In the ongoing tournament, as many as 16 teams participated and so far 44 matches have been played excluding the final. So it shouldn't be surprising that this season has seen the most number of sixes in the history of the tournament (391). But when it comes to sixes per match, the 2010 edition held in the Caribbean stands out. 278 sixes were hit in 27 matches in that tournament - 10.3 per match. It was the only T20 World Cup where an average of more than 10 sixes were hit.
The inaugural edition which was also the fastest-scoring T20 World Cup saw almost similar figures (9.8 sixes per match). But the next edition of the tournament taking place in England saw the lowest number of sixes in a single T20 World Cup.
Just 166 sixes were struck and the average number of sixes per match was 6.1. The 2016 tournament held in India saw an average of nine sixes hit per match, so did the ongoing tournament (8.9).
How the fast bowlers fared
The 2010 edition in the Caribbean was the best tournament for the fast bowlers as they gave away only 7.08 runs per over. The top two wicket-takers in that tournament were fast bowlers- Dirk Nannes (14 wickets) and Charl Langeveldt (11 wickets).
The sixth edition of the tournament saw the fast bowlers going for 7.71 runs per over. The batters enjoyed pace on the ball on good batting wickets in India. In the ongoing tournament in the Middle East, the pacers have done fairly well so far despite the pitches offering more assistance to the spinners. A lot of fast bowlers have used their variations to great effect and as a result, their economy rate in this tournament is 7.25.
How the finger spinners fared
Since the inception of T20s, spinners have been more successful in restricting the batters than the pacers. That's because the spinners don't give the batters enough pace to work with and the batters need to generate the power to clear the boundaries.
That's also evident when we look at the economy rates of the spinners across tournaments. The job is slightly more difficult for the finger spinners- right arm off-break and left-arm orthodox than the leg-spinners but they have found considerable success in this format.
Three of the top five wicket-takers in the history of the tournament are finger spinners and they have been used in a more intelligent way now with the introduction of data analyses and match-ups. Only twice - in 2007 and 2016 - the finger spinners went for more than seven runs an over. In the ongoing tournament, finger spinners like Imad Wasim, Mark Watt, R Ashwin kept the batters quiet and they conceded only 6.44 runs per over, the lowest in any tournament.
How the wrist spinners fared
Wrist spinners have nowadays become an indispensable part of the teams playing white-ball cricket especially T20s. Almost every team now has at least one capable wrist spinner who can trouble the batters even on unresponsive pitches.
Wrist spinners have enjoyed a fair amount of success in T20 World Cups and remarkably, their collective economy rate has never gone over seven runs an over.
The 2009 edition was the best one for them as the economy rate was under six runs an over (5.80). In 2016, they conceded 6.17 runs per over and in the ongoing tournament, it is 6.47. The top two wicket-takers in the tournament - Adam Zampa and Wanindu Hasaranga- are wrist spinners.
Number of 200+ scores
The 2007 and 2016 editions of the T20 World Cup were two of the fastest-scoring tournaments and 200 was crossed thrice in the first innings in both competitions.
There were no 200 plus scores in the first innings in 2010 and 2014. The ongoing edition has been the slowest tournament in terms of run rate and India was the only side to score 200 in the first innings.