With the buzz around T20 cricket around the world, even the United States of America couldn't have escaped the fever for long. And so their own franchise cricket tournament has begun on July 31. The final of this 27-city based team tournament is scheduled to October 3.
What is the format of the Minor League T20?
The 27 participating teams are divided into Pacific and Atlantic Conferences. These are further divided into Western and Central Pacific; Eastern and Southern Atlantic. The games are set to be played on weekends. After the league stage, the playoff qualification will be determined on a divisional basis. While the two in each division will progress to the Playoffs where the division winner will take on the second-place team from the opposite conference. For example- the West Division Champion will be up against the Southern Division runner up. These matches will be played on September 25 and 26 in a best-of-three format.
The winner of quarterfinals will forge ahead to to the championship weekend on October 2 and 3 at Church Street Park in Morrisville, North Carolina. The teams that come from conference from semifinal will play each other in national semifinal on October 2.
The two teams advancing from the conference semi-finals (i.e. Western Division champion vs Southern Division champion) will play each other in a national semi-final on October 2 before they go head to head on October 3.
Why is the Minor League T20 league being played?
The competition is being played since it is being looked at as a platform for players eyeing America's maiden professional T20 league called Major League Soccer beginning in 2022. USA Cricket has identified the tournament as one of the primary ways through which players can break into the national men's team.
Who owns Minor League T20?
It was the American Cricket Enterprise (ACE) which won the exclusive right to host a T20 league in the USA in 2018. Meanwhile, Willow TV, which is America's first cricket channel, and Times of India , founded the consortium of the ACE. Later, the ACE found investment from Shah Rukh Khan-owned KKR franchise and other big names like Microsoft and Paytm.
Even the IPL has had a maximum of 10 teams, how come Minor League T20 has 27?
It should be highlighted that the USA has many cricketers who trained in commonwealth countries and some who had played at a fairly decently level before settling in the States. Consequently, the minor league draft attracted over 80 first-class cricketers from around the world, with several of them even domiciled in the country. In fact, players like Corey Anderson, Sami Aslam, Rahkeem Cornwall, Dane Piedt, Shehan Jayasuriya are also said to take part in the competition.
Where can I watch the matches?
All the matches of the Minor League T20 cricket tournament can be streamed live on Willow TV's YouTube channel.