Exploring the most popular cricket tournaments in the world

Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the UK, and while it might not be as popular in many other countries, it is often considered a religion in the ones where it is played.

England, Australia, India, New Zealand, and Pakistan are just some of the countries where it’s hugely popular. The different formats of cricket means that it has one of the most interesting tournament schedules of any sport, and this makes it an interesting proposition for bettors. We are going to take a look at some of the most popular cricket tournaments worldwide, their history, and the best bookmakers to use to bet on them. 

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The top 10 cricket tournaments worldwide

Cricket offers punters a variety of tournaments to bet on. The sport has several variations, meaning there is a little bit of something for everyone. If you’re new to the world of cricket, though, knowing where to start with tournaments can feel a little daunting. In this guide, we break down the 10 biggest cricket tournaments worldwide. 

1. ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup is widely considered to be the most prestigious cup in cricket. The ODI tournament is held once every four years, with the first edition of the tournament being held in 1975. 

While other forms of cricket have grown in popularity in the early part of the 21st century, the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup has still managed to hold its position at the top of the pile. The tournament uses a round-robin and then knockout format, with 10 teams participating. 

2. ICC Champions Trophy

The ICC Champions Trophy was founded as the ICC Knockout Tournament in 1998 and has undergone several major changes since. The tournament is played in the ODI format and is held every four years. The ICC scrapped the contest in 2017, wanting just one major prize in each of the three cricket formats. This decision was reversed in 2021, though, and the tournament is set to return in 2025. 

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3. T20 World Cup

The T20 World Cup was founded in 2007 and has quickly established itself as one of the most important tournaments in the cricketing world. The T20 format has boomed in popularity, and some of the best cricketers in the world are on display in this event. Like the ICC World Cup, the T20 World Cup takes place every four years. 

4. Ashes Series

The Ashes are the oldest cricket competition in the world. It takes place once every two years and is a best-of-five test series between England and Australia. The teams take turns hosting the event. It typically lasts around a month, with each test taking five days.

The tournament is huge in both countries and is considered one of the best test-series in the world in terms of quality. England and Australia are two of the best cricket teams in the world, and the series is often extremely popular with bookmakers and punters alike. 

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5. Champions League Twenty20

The Champions League Twenty20 was an annual T20 tournament that was held between 2008 and 2014. Twelve teams would compete in a round-robin and knockout-style tournament between September and October. The tournament featured teams from eight-test playing nations. It ended in 2014 due to poor viewership. 

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6. Indian Premier League

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the most popular cricket league on the planet. The league was founded in 2008 and has become the world’s premier T20 competition. It is held annually, with a global audience of nearly 400 million, making it one of the biggest sports competitions worldwide. Ten teams compete for the prize, with the Mumbai Indians being the most successful franchise in its history. 

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7. NatWest Series

The Natwest Series were a series of ODI tournaments that took place in England. The last edition of this series was held in 2012. The National Westminster Bank was the chief sponsor for the tournament. NatWest has since worked to promote the T20 Blast Series. 

8. Border-Gavaskar Trophy

The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is a test-cricket series held between Australia and India. The competition started in 1996-17, and there have been 16 editions of it since. India has been the most successful side, winning the series 10 times. 

9. Asia Cup

The Asia Cup is the only continental cricket tournament in the world. The tournament is unique in that it alternates its format each time. It currently switches between T20 and ODI tournaments. India has been the most successful team in the tournament, winning it seven times since it was founded in 1984. 

10. The Australian Tri-Series

The Australian Tri-series is another popular tournament that is no longer held. The Tri-Series was a yearly competition Australia held and featured Australia and two other touring teams. All of the major cricketing nations made an appearance over the years, including India, Pakistan, and England. The last version was held in 2015, and there is no news on whether we can expect to see it in the future. 

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History of cricket competitions

The exact time period that cricket was founded is unknown. However, it is well-established that the sport was first rounded in South-East England, with Kent and Sussex being its home. Cricket would remain hugely popular in England for centuries, but it wasn’t until the late 1800s that the sport became truly competitive. 

The first County Championship was held in England in 1890, a significant moment in the sport’s history. By this time, cricket had spread internationally, and the first instance of the Ashes took place in 1892/93. Other countries were also busy establishing their own tournaments and competitions, with the Sheffield Cup in Australia, Currie Cup in South Africa, the Plunket Shield in New Zealand, and the Ranji Trophy in India all being founded. 

Cricket continued to gain momentum throughout the 20th century, and the first ever ICC Men’s World Cup was held in 1975, with the women’s version of the tournament being held two years earlier in 1973. 

New tournaments and championships have continued to pop up at a rapid pace. The development of T20 cricket saw several major leagues and tournaments founded in the early 2000s. The Indian Premier League, the most-watched league in the world, was established in 2008, with the inaugural T20 World Cup being held in Australia a year earlier. 

There are still new tournaments being founded now. The Hundred, a British league focused on 100-ball cricket, was founded in 2021 and has become immensely popular in a short period of time. 

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What is the biggest cricket tournament in the world?

The  ICC Cricket World Cup is considered to be the biggest cricket tournament in the world. The tournament is held every four years, with the first edition taking place in England in 1975. The tournament uses a one-day international format with ten teams competing for the prize. 

Which cricket league is the best in the world?

There is no one-size fits all answer to this question. The biggest reason for this is that the different forms of cricket make it difficult to judge. In terms of pure popularity, the Indian Premier League takes the title comfortably. The tournament draws a global viewership of around 400 million, making it not just the most-viewed cricket league but one of the most-viewed sporting divisions in the world. 

Regarding quality and prestige, most cricket purists would look towards a test league, with the County Championship in England being hugely respected. 

What are test rankings in cricket?

The ICC test rankings are used to rank the 12 nations that play test cricket. The rankings are updated after every match. The team at the top of the rankings used to be rewarded a cash prize on April 1st, but that is no longer in practice. 

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What are ODI rankings?

The ICC ODI rankings are the rankings for one-day internationals in cricket. Each team is assigned points based on a mathematical formula following their matches. The table is used to determine the best teams in the world at one-day international cricket. 

What are T20 rankings?

T20 rankings are the rankings for international T20 teams. Like the test and ODI rankings, these rankings use a complex mathematical formula to determine a team’s position, assigning points after every match. 

H2 What kinds of cricket tournaments are there?

Cricket is one of the most diverse sports in the world, with competitions being played in different formats. The following are the three main cricket formats: 

  • Twenty20 (T20) cricket has become increasingly popular in the 21st century. In T20, each team has 20 overs each, significantly speeding up the matches. This format has reignited interest in cricket in many countries, with T20 leagues like the Indian Premier League being among some of the world’s biggest sporting divisions. 
  • One day internationals, commonly abbreviated to ODIs, do as they say on the tin. These are one-day international matches where both teams get given 50 overs. The most popular ODI tournament is the ICC Cricket World Cup. 
  • Test cricket is still seen by many as the pinnacle format of the game. Both teams are given two innings in test cricket, with games typically lasting five days. The Ashes is among the most popular test-series tournaments, especially with UK bettors. 

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Which T20 cricket tournament is the most popular today?

The T20 World Cup is the most popular T20 tournament. Like the ICC Cricket World Cup, the T20 World Cup takes place every four years, with the first edition being held in 2007. Despite its relatively new status, the T20 World Cup is one of the most prestigious prizes in cricket. 

What is the oldest cricket tournament still happening today?

The oldest cricket tournament in the world is the Ashes. This five-day test series is held bi-annually between England and Australia. The tournament consists of five tests, with the winner taking home an urn, known as the Ashes. The first Ashes took place in 1883, though, some reports date it to 1882.

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How much is the biggest prize pool for a cricket tournament?

The ICC Men’s World Cup is said to have the biggest prize pool in cricket. The figures released by the ICC from the 2019 edition broke down a $10m prize pot for all the teams taking part. The winners and runners-up of the tournament would take home $4m and $2m, respectively, with the rest of the spot being split between the other eight tournaments in the competition. 

Can I bet on cricket tournaments in the UK?

Absolutely! Many of the UK’s top bookmakers will offer odds and markets on major cricket tournaments. Despite waning popularity in recent years, cricket still remains one of the biggest sports in the UK, with big events like the Cricket World Cup and the Ashes being popular among punters. Furthermore, some bookmakers have great mobile apps that make it easy to bet on cricket on the go.

Where can I bet on cricket tournaments?

The following are three of the best bookmakers to use for betting on cricket tournaments. 

1. BetUK

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BetUK is one of the best cricket betting sites in the UK. The site offers a good range of markets to bet on, covering everything from the IPL to the Women’s World Cup. It’s not just the tournaments, though, there is a big choice of markets within each individual game, each of which offers competitive odds. The site also runs regular sports betting promotions you can take advantage of. 

2. Spreadex

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Spreadex is one of the most competitive bookmakers on the market when it comes to cricket odds. The operator provides fixed-odds and spread betting options and is always among the first to offer odds for big tournaments and test matches. 

3. bet365

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No list of top bookmakers is complete without a mention of bet365. The popular bookmaker has a range of cricket markets available, with in-depth odds and betting markets for all of the major tournaments, including the World Cup, the Ashes, and the IPL. You can find odds for all upcoming cricket matches and tests, with the site also offering one of the best in-play betting sections in the UK. 

What is the best cricket tournament to bet on?

The answer to this is going to come down to personal preference. The ICC Cricket World Cup is one of the best tournaments in the world and presents plenty of good betting opportunities. Bookmakers are also more likely to offer special bonuses and promotions during this period. The IPL, on the other hand, is one of the most popular divisions, and it occurs much more regularly than the World Cup. It attracts a global audience of millions and is one of the most attended leagues in any sport worldwide. UK bookmakers are also likely to have a big selection of markets for the Ashes, with the series being hugely popular in the UK. 

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A final word on cricket tournaments

Cricket can be one of the best sports to bet on. There is no sport in the world with quite as many variations and formats, and this gives it a unique edge. Test series are great for purists, while newer formats like the T20 and The Hundred offer faster-paced action for bettors to enjoy. The variety of formats and tournaments means that there is always something interesting to bet on, and bookies are regularly offering free bets and other bonuses for you to use. 

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