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Top Cricket Leagues and Tournaments

There are few games in the world which test players like cricket, which requires both physical and psychological finesse to win.  This means that wagering on cricket can be every bit as challenging, with many complex factors playing into whether you win or lose. 


I will get into those factors and how to weigh them into your betting decisions in future articles on cricket betting strategies.  For now, let’s assume you are a total beginner, and you just are looking for a way to get into watching and betting on cricket.  You may not be familiar with the numerous tournaments and leagues around the globe, and may just want to know, “What should I follow?  What should I wager on?”


Cricket is played worldwide, but it is definitely most popular in the UK, India, and Australia.  Some competitions are domestically played, while others are international.  Formats vary wildly - something else I will talk about in a future article. 


For now, I will tell you about some of the biggest competitions and leagues in the countries where cricket is most popular.



India is the second most populous country on the planet, and cricket is a big deal there, so it should come as no surprise that this makes India the most popular place to bet on the sport.  In particular, Twenty20 (a short form of cricket) is all the rage.

What to Bet On:

  • Irani Trophy: This is the largest one-day domestic league in India.  Teams competing for the trophy are divided into four different zones according to their geography.  There are two semi-finals and then a final competition to win the big prize.
  • Ranji Trophy: This is the largest domestic cricket league in India overall with 27 teams.  As with the Irani Trophy, these teams are divided across four regions.  There is a national quarter final followed by a semi-final and then the final.  Keep an eye on regular favourites Mumbai, who have stacked up 39 tournament wins in only 43 years.
  • Indian Premier League (IPL): As mentioned before, Twenty20 is a really big deal in India.  At the start of the competition, the teams competing in the IPL have a chance to bid on players from teams all around the globe.  This bidding process can become quite expensive; in 2012 for example, more than $700 million was spent buying players for IPL teams.  This makes it not only the largest Twenty20 competition on the planet, but also the most expensive cricket competition in the world.



In Australia, there are two major leagues which you will want to follow and bet on:

  • Big Bash: This is the Australian equivalent to IPL.  The 8 teams that compete are able to bid on players from around the globe.  Rather than the teams being linked to states, they are instead associated with cities.  This has allowed Big Bash to enjoy wider access.
  • Sheffield Shield:  This domestic competition is a long form of cricket with games that go on for days.  Teams associated with 6 states compete, and each one plays each other team twice: once home, and once away.  There is then a final which goes on for five straight days.



Now let’s talk about competitions and leagues which you can bet on here on the home soil.  Cricket has its origins in England; while the sport has grown by leaps and bounds internationally, it has surged in popularity domestically as well.

  • Friends Life Twenty 20: This competition includes 18 county teams, each of which may bring two players onboard from overseas to play. 
  • County Championship: This four-day game is played by a league split into two divisions, aptly called “Division 1” and “Division 2.” 
  • ECB40: This is another shortened form of cricket, played by 21 different teams.  This includes 18 first-class county teams from England along with 3 additional teams from abroad (which are selected by invitation).  The teams are divided into four groups.  The four winners (one from each group) then compete in semi-finals.  The two winners of the semi-finals compete in a final match.


Important International Cricket Events

While players (and occasionally teams, such as with ECB40) from abroad are involved in the leagues and tournaments above, they are domestic events involving mainly domestic players.  Domestic cricket events in the UK and abroad can give you plenty to wager on, but you would be remiss to skip out on the action of international cricket events.  Here are a few to keep up with:

  • The Cricket World Cup: This major international event takes place every four years, and features 50 overs per side. 
  • Twenty 20 World Cup: Twenty20 is a popular format for cricket everywhere, so this event is arguably even bigger than the Cricket World Cup.  There are 20 overs on each side.  Four groups of teams compete, and then the winners from each proceed to the semi-finals.  The winners of the semi-finals battle it out to win the final.  This event takes place once every two years. 
  • Test matches: Do not miss out on test cricket!  Games run as long as five days and can result in a win, lose or draw.  Ten nations currently play cricket tests which range anywhere from two to five games.


Now you have a pretty good idea in which tournaments and leagues you can wager on with cricket.  Remember, these are just the big domestic and international events; you will find plenty more cricket action once you start getting into the sport.  With so many different formats for games and tournaments, there is plenty of variety and something for everyone.  Be sure to check back soon to learn even more about wagering on cricket!


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