As the T20 World Cup 2021 nears its close on Sunday (November 14) with a marquee final between Australia and New Zealand, we take a look at the tournament’s best performers and come up with an XI for the competition that has entertained fans over the last month.
The T20 World Cup XI here is a set of players picked on the basis of two simple metrics: the impact on their respective teams’ fortunes and the challenges they faced in terms of the opposition and in-game scenarios. With that in mind, some of those who failed to come to the party against tough opponents but maximised their output versus the lesser sides have been looked past.
This isn’t to suggest those performances were walk in the park but is purely a filter applied to come up with the best out of the best from the XI here.
1. Jos Buttler (c)
After a slow start, Jos Buttler picked up pace in the latter half of England’s campaign and finished the tournament with 289 runs at an average of 89.66 and strike-rate of 151.12. Buttler smashed a fantastic hundred on a difficult track in Sharjah versus Sri Lanka and also took down the Australians with an unbeaten 71 in Dubai. He is also the captain and the wicketkeeper of this side.
2. Mohammad Rizwan (wk)
Rizwan played his anchoring duties to perfection for Pakistan. Batting at the top, the right-hander scored 281 runs at 70.25 per piece while maintaining a strike-rate of 127.72, which rose to great heights at the death. Rizwan played a majestic knock in Pakistan’s famous win over India and was the top run-getter in their semi-final defeat to Australia.
3. David Warner
Warner entered this XI after a vintage display in the latter half of Australia’s campaign. The left-hander dominated Sri Lanka and West Indies during the Super 12 stage and was Australia’s top-scorer in the semi-final win over Pakistan. Warner will be heading into the final against the Kiwis with an average of 47.20 and strike-rate of 148.42 for the tournament.
4. Charith Asalanka
Asalanka emerged as one of the biggest positives for a talented but highly inexperienced Sri Lankan side. In a tournament where most of the Lankan batters failed to be consistently explosive at the crease, Asalanka carried an average of 46.20 with a strike-rate of 147.13 for his 231 runs across six innings. He played excellent knocks in Sri Lanka’s impressive Super 12 wins over Bangladesh and West Indies.
5. Aiden Markram
Markram showed terrific form with the bat throughout the competition. Playing the difficult middle-order role, the elegant South African right-hander batted at a strike-rate of 145.94 while averaging 54 over 5 innings of the Super 12 stage in the relatively tougher Group 1. Markram was South Africa’s lone ranger in the defeat against Australia and produced magnificent knocks in the wins over West Indies and England.
6. Daryl Mitchell
It may seem odd to slot in an opener in the middle-order but New Zealand right-hander Daryl Mitchell deserves to make this XI somehow. Playing at the top, Mitchell has scored 197 runs at 39.40 per innings and a strike-rate of 140.71. The 30-year-old batted superbly in New Zealand’s important wins over India and Afghanistan, but his moment of the competition came in the semis when he stayed unbeaten for a 47-ball 72 in a difficult run-chase against England and took his team home.
7. David Wiese
Wiese makes this XI because of his great all-round prowess and influence for Namibia. The former South African player is the only associate cricketer part of our T20 World Cup XI. Wiese’s tally of 227 runs and six wickets includes precious runs in tough situations and important breakthroughs for his team. Wiese led the way with his calming presence in wins over Netherlands and Ireland in the preliminary stage and bowled the difficult overs throughout. He was Namibia’s most exceptional performer during the Super 12s as well.
8. Wanindu Hasaranga
Hasaranga’s mystery and guile continued to make life extremely difficult for the opposition batters as he ended the T20 World Cup with as its top wicket-taker, bagging 16 scalps from his 8 innings with an economy rate of only 5.20. He also played a terrific counter-attacking knock against Ireland in the preliminary stage. Hasaranga is only the second Sri Lankan player to make this XI.
9. Adam Zampa
The slot of the second spinner goes to Australia’s lead spinner Adam Zampa, who has been brilliant in the tournament throughout. On dryish, spin-friendly tracks, Zampa’s skiddy wrist-spin has helped him retain wood over most batters. Zampa is only second to Hasaranga in the list of wicket-takers heading into the final with 12 scalps and an economy rate of 5.69. He took a five-fer against Bangladesh and more impressively, came up with a spell of 1/22 on a flat pitch in the semi-final versus Pakistan.
10. Anrich Nortje
With his express pace and tall stature aiding a high-arm release, Nortje enjoyed bowling on dry, uneven surfaces in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah. His five-game tally for South Africa included 9 wickets with an economy rate of only 5.37. Nortje was instrumental to Proteas’ impressive run that saw them win four of the five Super 12 games and miss out on the semis only by NRR.
11. Jasprit Bumrah
Bumrah is the only Indian player part of this XI. Despite India’s inability to make the semis after successive defeats to Pakistan and New Zealand, Bumrah enters the T20 World Cup XI because of his stand-out performances with the ball. Bumrah ended with spells of 0/22 and 2/19, respectively, in India’s heavy losses at the start of the Super 12 stage. It says a lot about Bumrah that even when the Indian attack had no scoreboard pressure to work with, he was able to put the breaks on scoring. He earned his rewards for his good work in those games via the matches against Afghanistan, Scotland, and Namibia and ended with a tally of 7 wickets and an economy rate of only 5.08.
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