West Indies' Chris Gayle. Photo: Reuters
WARNE v McCULLUM
Even at 42, five years after he retired from international cricket, Shane Warne had lost none of his skill or timing. Miked-up live to the TV commentary, the magician told viewers he suspected Kiwi Brendon McCullum would attempt a sweep shot, ''so I'll try and slide one in there … fast''. The result? McCullum was bowled around his legs trying to sweep.
WARNER'S SWITCH HIT
It was the shot that reverberated around the world. David Warner's 100-metre switch hit against India's Ravi Ashwin in Sydney this year sparked debate over the legality of the stroke. Some argued that the left-handed Warner, by adopting a right-hander's grip and changing his stance mid-delivery, had breached the law, while others deemed it a fair shot. Either way, the fans want more of it.
The Sydney Sixers were one of the leading fancies before this year's Champions League but few expected the rampage that was to come. Under the astute leadership of Brad Haddin, the reigning Big Bash titleholders crushed rival after rival on their way to a $US2.4 million payday. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were simply outstanding with the ball.
AUSTRALIA v NZ, FEBRUARY 2005
The first international Twenty20 match, between Australia and New Zealand, is better remembered for the fancy-dress outfits sported by the Kiwis. Wearing body-hugging retro 1980s outfits, the Black Caps were no match for their trans-Tasman rivals, who handed out a 44-run thrashing. Ricky Ponting, then at the peak of his powers, starred with an unbeaten 98.
2010 WORLD T20 SEMI-FINAL
Australia boasts only a modest record in international Twenty20s but it can thank Michael Hussey's heroics in St Lucia for reaching the final of the 2010 world title. Despite at one stage needing 53 to win off the final 21 deliveries, the Australians won with a ball to spare, thanks to a memorable innings from the man dubbed Mr Cricket. Hussey's unbeaten 60 off 24 balls included three fours and a remarkable six sixes.
THE DISCOVERY OF DAVID WARNER
David Warner made his mark against South Africa in 2009 when he became the first man since 1877 to line up for Australia before playing first-class cricket. It was a debut to remember. The left-hander made mincemeat of an attack containing Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini and Jacques Kallis, swiping 89 off 43 balls to become an overnight sensation. Warner remains one of the world's best Twenty20 players but has also made an encouraging start to his Test career.
Cricket Australia would no doubt have preferred the final of its revamped Twenty20 competition to be staged in Sydney or Melbourne but it was not complaining when the decider in Perth was sold out in 14 minutes. The locals, however, were not given a happy ending as the Sydney Sixers saluted by seven wickets. Moises Henriques and Brett Lee were outstanding.
FOUNDING OF TWENTY20
It may come as a surprise to many but it was England that started the Twenty20 craze in 2003, long before the IPL or the Big Bash were in vogue. The England and Wales Cricket Board's marketing manager, Stuart Robertson, came up with the idea of a 20-over-a-side game to revive flagging interest in the sport at domestic level. The concept has thrived but Robertson hasn't pocketed a penny for it.
BIG BASH COMEBACKS
The rebranding of Cricket Australia's Big Bash from a state to city-based competition last summer was given a kick-along by the comeback of former stars Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden, Stuart MacGill and Brad Hogg. While Warne and Hayden generated the most headlines, it was MacGill and Hogg whose teams made it through to the final.
NEW STARS ARE BORN
Many traditionalists fear the growth of Twenty20 will detract from Test cricket but the 2010-11 Big Bash handed a 17-year-old and a groundsman their big breaks in the game. Teenager Pat Cummins shot to national prominence on the back of his heroics for NSW, while Nathan Lyon made his first-class and Test debuts soon after starring for South Australia in its Big Bash success.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2009
With David Warner in supreme touch, NSW dropped just one match in the first staging of the tournament and beat arch-rival Victoria to make the final. Brett Lee was outstanding in the decider, starring with bat and ball to inspire his state to a 41-run victory over Trinidad and Tobago.
WARNE IPL SUCCESS
Entering the first Indian Premier League competition in 2008, many thought the Rajasthan Royals had assembled the weakest list but they were underestimating the powers of Shane Warne, who came out of retirement to play in the lucrative competition. Under the champion leg-spinner's captaincy and tutelage, Rajasthan won 11 of its 14 preliminary-round matches then knocked off the highly fancied Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings to take out the inaugural title.
AUSTRALIA v INDIA 2008
India may have been world champion at the time but Australia afforded the visitors no respect on this night. After his team reduced India to a hapless 9-63, stand-in captain Michael Clarke placed all 10 men around the bat as Adam Voges chased a hat-trick. In front of 84,041 fans at the MCG, India made 74 - one run better than Kenya's Twenty20 low of 73. Australia cruised home with 52 balls to spare.
IPL PLAYER AUCTION
The power of the Twenty20 dollar, and the Indian rupee, was on show at the inaugural player auction in 2008 as franchise owners showed how prepared they were to splash the cash. Most players fetched six-figure sums for six weeks' work. Andrew Symonds was bought for $US1.35 million, just a few weeks after being a central figure in the feud with India, while Brett Lee ($US900,000) and Adam Gilchrist ($US700,000) also attracted interest. India's star wicketkeeper/batsman, M. S. Dhoni, topped the lot, commanding a $US1.5 million fee from the Chennai Super Kings.
INDIA WORLD CHAMPION
India's first major title in 22 years was made all the more sweeter by the fact it beat arch-rival Pakistan in the final. Defending 157, the Indians dismissed Pakistan for 152 and enhanced the cricket-mad nation's love affair with the Twenty20 game. The staging of the inaugural Indian Premier League the following year further strengthened the country's power at the boardroom table.
ANDREW JOHNS PLAYS FOR NSW
Before the Big Bash became a big deal, NSW pulled off a shameless stunt by getting NRL great Andrew Johns to don the baby blue in 2006-07. He attracted the crowds, though it did not help the Blues on the field. Just ask Simon Katich. The Blues needed 13 to win from the final over against South Australia but Katich refused to hand the strike to Johns, who was batting at No. 11. In Johns' second and last game he made nine off 10 balls but the Blues lost again and failed to make the final.
THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL TON
Given what he has achieved in this form of the game, it should come as no surprise that Chris Gayle was the first man to score a ton on the world stage. It happened in the 20th international game and came off only 50 balls against South Africa in 2007. Remarkably, it was not enough for the West Indies to win as the Proteas overhauled their target of 206 with 14 balls remaining.
LUKE WRIGHT'S CENTURY
Any bookmaker framing a market for the fastest century in the Big Bash would have had Luke Wright at huge odds, but the England all-rounder had a night out in Hobart. Wright creamed a brilliant 117 off only 60 balls, and needed just 44 deliveries to reach three figures. No player has scored a faster century in Australia's Twenty20 competition.
FIRST INTERNATIONAL HAT-TRICK
Bangladesh trio Shakib Al Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza and Alok Kapali might not mean much to the average cricket fan but they form the answer to the trivia question: which three men were the victims in the first hat-trick taken in Twenty20 internationals? Brett Lee was the bowler and the occasion was a group match in the 2007 World Twenty20 in Cape Town.
GLOBALISATION OF THE GAME
The advent of Twenty20 has globalised the game and helped revive interest among the younger generation. It has seen players from different countries playing in the same team and also made some strange bedfellows. The disdain between Shane Warne and Graeme Smith was mutual but the pair bonded over their time at Rajasthan. Last year, market forces resulted in Andrew Symonds and his fierce rival Harbhajan Singh sharing a dressing room for the Mumbai Indians.