The Indian Premier League is the most lucrative T20 Tournament in the world, with the best T20 players coming from all over the world to play for their respective franchises and to play in the peak club competition in the world.
In recent years, other competitions around the world were created to try and emulate the success of the IPL, even within India other competitions have been created to try and compete against the IPL with various levels of success. Certainly, in India itself, no other sporting competition can challenge the popularity and success of the Indian Premier League, with stadiums routinely packed out with loud and voracious fans.
However, what can cricket fans watch during the offseason from the beginning of June to April the next year when there is no IPL to watch? Here is a comprehensive list of the top T20 competitions to keep your eye on during the IPL offseason.
6. Shpageeza League
While this is a strange one to start the list, this competition is responsible for unearthing the unbelievable talents in Rashid Khan and Najibullah Zadran to the world stage. While Rashid Khan was rewarded with a contract at the IPL, it's only a matter of time before his Afghani compatriot joins him at the worlds premier T20 tournament.
The Shpageeza league is a 6 team league that takes place over 10 days in the capital city of Kabul. The franchises include Band-e-Amir Dragons, Kabul Eagles, Boost Defenders, Mis Ainak Knights, Amo Sharks and the Speen Ghar Tigers. The Band-e-Amir Dragons are the current defending champions and their captain is Rashid Khan.
5. Bangladesh Premier League
Aside from Afghanistan, the biggest surprise on the world stage these days is the Bangladesh Tigers have caused some of the biggest upsets in International cricket of late in which they reached the semi-finals of a major international tournament and had home victories over cricketing powerhouses such as South Africa, Pakistan, and India.
This has undoubtedly been fueled by the resurgence of the Bangladesh Premier League. While the original format was plagued with a match-fixing scandal, with several players and administrators handed bans from the game. However, in 2015 the tournament was given new life and the success being seen as a result of that, has turned the Bangladesh Premier League from a joke into one of the most watchable leagues in the world, hosting players in the calibre of Chris Gayle, Kumar Sangakkara, and Shakib Al Hasan.
The reigning Bangladesh Premier League champions are the Rangpur Riders, who are captained by Mashrafe Mortaza, and include the star power of Chris Gayle, Brendan McCullum, and Lasith Malinga among others. The next season is due to take place in January 2019 due to the Bangladesh general elections being held between October to December 2018.
4. Vitality Blast, formerly Natwest Blast
While England hasn't always been known for being the hosts to the most exciting brand of cricket, the Vitality Blast is something to behold, and it's no surprise that the success of the blast has created a generation of English players which thrive in the explosive T20 environment. With one of the largest international list of players, as well as some phenomenal local talent, the Vitality Blast, formerly known as the Natwest blast is among the finest T20 tournaments in the world.
The tournament runs from July to the middle of September with several games being played at the same time. The 2018 season is heading towards its completion and the 2017 Champions, Nottinghamshire Outlaws, have already been knocked out.
3. CSA T20 Challenge, formerly the Ram Slam
The South African premier T20 Competition, the Ram Slam, is certainly one of the best competitions around the world in T20s. The South African T20 tournament isn't as well-known as some of the others on this list, mainly because it usually competes with the Big Bash League. However, with a host of local South African talent this tournament is still one to watch out for.
While the usual competition played from mid-November to mid-December, the 2018/2019 format will be held in April 2019. The current champions are the Multiply Titans who host a heap of some of the biggest names in South African cricket, such as AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, both Morkels, and David Wiesse and more.
2. Caribbean Premier League
It isn't surprising, given how much West Indian players dominate the International T20 scene, that the CPL would be one of the most entertaining T20 leagues around the world. Six franchise teams representing different island nations in the Caribbean, such as Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis, played across the West Indies and the USA.
Billed as "the party of the summer", the CPL delivers the entertainment in spades. Between the big hits, the spectacular catches, and the entertaining wicket celebrations, the CPL is undoubtedly the most exciting tournaments outside of India.
The tournament hosts all the big West Indian names that you see regularly staring in the IPL, as well as a host of other international level talents from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Pakistan. The tournament is held from August to mid-September, with Trinbago Knight Riders as the defending Champions in this year's tournament.
1.Big Bash League
No surprises with number 1 here, Australia's T20 Tournament is the biggest T20 tournament in the world outside of India. 8 Teams represent 6 different cities across Australia, with an average attendance at over 24,000 people per game. While the tournament has limited spots for international players, but the ones that have made it is some of the biggest T20 stars in the world have played in the Big Bash League, including the likes of Shane Warne, Chris Gayle, Brendan McCullum, Marlon Samuels, Mahela Jayawardene, Flintoff, Pieterson, Kallis, Gibbs, and Malinga to name some of the many stars.
More than the stars and the fans, Australia's Big Bash league is also the biggest T20 Spectacle in the world outside of the Indian Premier League. The Big Bash games take place from December to February with the Adelaide Strikers having won the last season.