Could the SA20 rival the IPL as the world’s most-watched cricket tournament?
The Indian Premier League has been one of the most successful sporting tournaments to have ever been launched. Indeed, watched by hundreds of millions of people and with international broadcasters falling over themselves to buy the TV rights for their specific region, this league has disrupted the game of cricket like nothing before has managed to do in the history of the sport.
The world’s best head to the tip of Africa as the revolution begins
There has, however, been a competition launched in South Africa that is showing early signs of going viral, similar to the way the IPL got off the ground in 2008. The tournament is called the SA20 and like the IPL, has attracted a host of the game’s best players from around the globe.
From England’s Jofra Archer whose team MI Cape Town are one of the favorites in the latest online betting to win the inaugural competition at odds of +400, to West Indian Jason Holder who plays for Durban’s Super Giants, the stars have arrived on South Africa’s shores and the public have responded which, again, is reminiscent of the way fans took to the IPL all those years ago.
At least, the IPL’s extraordinary success was built on the fanatical support from local fans who filled out every stadium during the early fixtures. It goes without saying but the atmosphere that was created and which can still be witnessed today in grounds across India contributes towards an adrenaline-filled spectacle. Tellingly, we are seeing a similar level of passionate support being showcased in South Africa with stadiums being sold out the in the Rainbow Nation long before the day of the game. When the actual contest does get underway, you can only liken the atmosphere to that of a raucous carnival, with fans wildly celebrating every ball that is bowled.
In many respects, this is a nation that has been starved of international cricket over the last two decades having been overlooked when it comes to hosting major competitions.
Got to give it to #SA20 where CSA fails they have captured the public attention. Exceptional crowds so far pic.twitter.com/Y4yHYsFidj
— Brenden Nel (@BrendenNel) January 14, 2023
Essentially, this is why the world is seeing local fans exhibiting an insatiable appetite for the feast of cricket that has arrived on their doorstep. Crucially, it is this support that is consistently flocking to the grounds up and down the country in their masses that has laid the foundations for this Twenty20 tournament to rival the IPL.
A country built for cricket
In addition to the jubilant scenes taking place on the terraces and the grass embankments, South Africa is also a country that is made for hosting cricket given that there are world-class stadiums scattered over nine provinces.
Our view for the evening 😌
👋 from Newlands! #RoarSaamMore #MICTvPC #SA20 pic.twitter.com/rdT2uLSjBY
— Pretoria Capitals (@PretoriaCapsSA) January 23, 2023
As for the weather, there is almost no rain and continuously warm temperatures over January and February which ultimately means that fans don’t have to worry about the threat of inclement conditions with every game likely to come to a natural conclusion – something that certainly can’t be said for other global cricket tournaments. Indeed, fans only need to look back at the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England which will be remembered as the wettest on record to get a better of how conditions can play havoc with a schedule.
What does the future hold?
With the world’s best players, feverish local support, some of the best stadiums in the world, and flawless weather, the question has to be asked: could the SA20 potentially dethrone the IPL as the world’s premier cricketing tournament?
Few would have ever imagined it to be possible but this is now a distinct possibility.