Ten reasons why the World Twenty20 is a tournament we can all get behind
Twenty20 is cricket we can all get behind.
Today marks the start of the World T20 and another opportunity for Ireland to upset the order of world cricket, but there's plenty of other reasons to tune in to promises to be another extravaganza of crowd-pleasing sixes and tension-filled finishes.
So if you're sceptical about cricket, just bear in mind the following things: There's drinking (if that's your thing), there's betting (if that's your thing, there's sledging (everyone likes that) and there's top quality sport.
And if that's not enough here are 10 more reasons it's worth tuning in...
1. It's short
Yes, the most common complaint against watching cricket is the often sleep-inducing pace. Test matches trundle along over the course of five days, while there's a reason the 50-over form of the game in which Ireland has had so much success in recent years is called a One-Day International.
But T20 is an altogether different beast, with games wrapping up in little more than two and a half hours, roughly the same as an extra-time football match.
2. Sport is just better under floodlights
Whether it's a local GAA club match or a midweek Champions League tie, sport just looks more exciting under the night sky.
3. Big hitting
While 300-350 runs might be a productive day for a batting side at Test level, T20 matches can regularly produce that in half the time. If you're not scoring quickly, you may as well not be scoring at all, with top batsmen expected to send the ball crashing over or across the boundary at least twice an over. The old baseball saying claims 'Chicks dig the long ball', and the likes of South Africa's AB de Villiers, England's Ben Stokes and Ireland's Kevin O'Brien certainly make sure to keep viewers entertained.
4. The drama
The shorter game offers much greater scope for massive swings in momentum, while games are frequently in the balance until the closing overs, when the tension ratchets up and every ball is an event in itself.
5. The Super Over
Like a regular over, only SUPER. Cricket's equivalent of a penalty shootout, tied games are decided by a Super Over. Each team selects three batsmen and one bowler, and have six balls to rack up as many runs as possible to decide the game.
6. Both Irish teams are involved
Both the men's and women's Ireland teams are taking part in their respective tournaments, which are running side by side.
The men's side, led by William Porterfield, hasn't had the same success as in the 50-over version of the World Cup, and must come out on top of a preliminary pool featuring Oman, the Netherlands and Bangladesh if they are to progress to face the bigger nations.
The women, coached by former men's captain Trent Johnston, have also qualified for their second T20 World Cup and face a murderer's row of competition, beginning against New Zealand on March 18 before facing Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia.
7. Chris Gayle
We left the big fella out of our earlier list of big hitters because the West Indian absolutely deserves his own slot on this list. In addition to his destructive batting, which has seen him rack up countless match-winning T20 knocks, such as his world record 175 off just 66 balls in 2013, Gayle is just as likely to make headlines for his off-the-field endeavours.
The rapid-fire nature of T20 lends itself to more frequent shocks, with a couple of giants likely to fall to the minnows of the sport during the tournament. Ireland might not have added to their list of conquests, but the likes of Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and the Dutch, who have twice beaten England, all causing major upsets at recent World Cups.
9. Indian crowds
England might be the home of cricket, but it's in India where the sport is like religion. While attendance figures for Test cricket are struggling, the T20 business is booming, and nowhere more so than in the home of the Indian Premier League. Expect packed houses and a stark difference to the sedate cricket crowds you might be used to seeing on television.
10. The noise and the glamour
In addition to the fabulous crowds, T20 organisers have made sure to Americanise the sport by ensuring a constant stream of audio and visual stimulation, from rock music to teams of cheerleaders. Boredom is not an option.