If the IPL brought the T20 format to India in a grand way and eventually became the most competitive league in the world, the T20 Mumbai league is designed to identify young talent, nurture them and give them a platform to exhibit their skills such that fans can get to know them better.
The Mumbai Cricket Association have conceptualised the T20 Mumbai league with the goal of discovering young cricketing talent from all over Mumbai and to take them to the next level by giving exposure to them on a grand stage where their talent will be seen and noticed by everyone across the country. The T20 Mumbai league is a structured approach to promote the sport at the grassroots level and encourage more and more youngsters to take up the sport.
The inaugural edition featured six teams and the final was played between Triumph Knights Mumbai North East and Shivaji Park Lions. Despite a stirring effort from Shivam Dube in the chase for the Lions, Triumph Knights held on to win by three runs, with captain Suryakumar Yadav's 90 run knock off 42 balls setting the platform for the win.
Dube's innings caught the eyes of T20 scouts across India and he was signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore for IPL 2019, indicating how the T20 Mumbai league provides the perfect platform for talented youngsters to showcase their skills.
In addition to the original six teams, which are SoBo SuperSonics, Triumph Knights Mumbai North East, Shivaji Park Lions, NaMo Bandra Blasters, North Mumbai Panthers and ARCS Andheri, we have two new teams representing the Eastern and Western suburbs this time around added to the mix. The teams are Aakash Tigers Mumbai Western Suburbs and Eagle Thane Strikers.
This year's auction saw teams retain 11 players in total, with Shreyas Iyer retained by NaMo Bandra Blasters for the price of INR 7 lacs, while Prithvi Shaw was retained by the North Mumbai Panthers. Defending champions Shivaji Park Lions retained Dube and Mumbai Ranji captain Siddhesh Lad. Experienced T20 campaigner Dhawal Kulkarni makes his debut with Aakash Tigers MWS, with last year's brand ambassador, Arjun Tendulkar, also drafted by Aakash Tigers.
Triumph Knights Mumbai North East remain the team to beat with Suryakumar Yadav the key man. The presence of Aditya Tare and Sarfraz Khan on the Eagle Thane Strikers will give the newcomers a chance at the title while Aakash Tigers MWS will be dark horses for the title with their talented bowling attack of Kulkarni, Arjun Tendulkar and Shams Mulani.
The tournament format has been tweaked from last year to keep fans engaged furthermore. The eight teams have been split into two groups of four teams each. They will play three matches against teams from their group and two matches against teams from the other group. With such an exciting format, teams would be looking to ensure they take the advantage quickly and press home the advantage.
The 2nd edition of the T20 Mumbai league will start on May 14th with a clash between defending champions Triumph Knights Mumbai North East and newcomers Aakash Tigers Mumbai Western Suburbs at 3.30 pm in the Wankhede stadium. The evening clash will see SoBo SuperSonics, who finished top of the table but got eliminated in the second qualifier, battle ARCS Andheri. All matches will take place at the iconic Wankhede stadium, with the first match starting at 3.30 pm and the second starting at 7.30 pm.
After 10 days of explosive action with two matches scheduled for each day, the top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals that will be held on the 24th and 25th of May. The final will be played at the Wankhede on May 26 where Mumbai's T20 champions will be declared.
With the God of Cricket Sachin Tendulkar as the brand ambassador of the league, season two of the T20 Mumbai league promises to be bigger and better and the hope is that many more talented youngsters make the spotlight and use this league to further their career.
Catch the T20 Mumbai action live on Star Sports 2/2HD/3 at 7:30 PM, and on Hotstar.