With Sri Lanka crowned as the new World T20 Champions, it is time to look back and take stock of a thrilling and brutally-fought tournament that had its highs and lows, despite some very sketchy fielding/catching standards and low scores.
The bowlers were the real heroes, and only if you’re the best batsman on the planet, you’d win the Man Of The Tournament award on these slow, low pitches of Bangladesh. Virat Kohli can rightfully stake that claim right now.
So here’s our exclusive Team of the Tournament, based only on their performances, not reputation:
Stephan Myburgh (224 runs)
Do we have the next Dutch star after Ryan Ten Doeschate? The attacking Netherlands opener was one of the revelations, and the only player from an associate team in this team. He played scorching knocks to guide his team to a record-shattering 193 in 13.5 overs against Ireland to qualify in the main group, and then further ambushed the mighty South Africans with an innings that only his lower order could mess up. His strike rate of over 150 is a lesson to more reputed minnow teams that fear playing their natural game.
Hashim Amla (185 runs)
The merchant of silk makes the cut for the openers slot, simply because he understood his role and executed it a tad better than Rohit Sharma or Alex Hales. He played through the first part of the innings consistently, holding it together, and made sure his team reached the semis despite underperforming. This is high praise for a batsman often dismissed for the shortest version of the game.
Virat Kohli (319 runs)
The best batsman of the tournament, and in World Cricket. His lowest score was 24, and he scored 50s in the semi-final and final, making him a big match player too. His consistency is already stuff of legends, and his fielding and intensity only make him a bigger draw.
JP Duminy (187 runs)
The stylish middle-order left-hander rescued his team more than once, especially during his whirlwind 80+ against England in a crucial game. He bowled his entire quota of overs more than once, making him one of the most useful all-rounders in the tournament.
Glenn Maxwell (147 runs)
Often a victim of brain-fades despite being one of the most talented and skilful hitters in world cricket. His shots are not mere slogs, they are pleasing to the eye too, and his timing his second to none. His stunning assault against Pakistan in a losing cause will go down as one of the memories of the World T20.
Darren Sammy (101 runs)
Forget the number of runs, Sammy established himself as the best finisher in T20 cricket. His brute strength is frightening and his mis-hits go for maximums. His counterattacks against Australia and Pakistan were breathtaking, as he often comes in after the 16th over in high pressure situations. His celebrations after mauling Faulkner in the final over will remain as the moment of this World T20 tournament. The chase in the semi-final against Sri Lanka wasn’t beyond his reach either, if not for the rain.
Denesh Ramdin (Wicketkeeper)
He scored nothing with the bat, but was an inspiration behind the stumps—the sole reason behind the spin twins’ success this time. His stumpings in the Pakistan game will go down as the best individual keeping performance seen in a long, long time.
R. Ashwin (11 wickets)
It started as Mishra’s tournament, but gradually became Ashwin’s. His carom ball will be mocked no more, especially after Amla’s unbelievable dismissal. His economy rate was less than 5.5, an achievement for a bowler on the verge of a meltdown in the preceding tournaments.
S. Badree (11 wickets)
Tahir may have finished with more wickets, but Badree bowled to the top order and deceived them with his consistency. His style is remnant of Kumble’s fast low unspinners—a style even upcoming spinners Karn Sharma and Rahul Sharma excel at. He snuffed out Pakistan’s challenge in less than 4 overs, and was supposed ably by Narine.
Dale Steyn (9 wickets)
The best fast bowler in world cricket stepped up more than once for his team, breaking New Zealand hearts in the process. He was next to unplayable in the death overs—a true mark of a world class matchwinner.
K. Santokie (8 wickets)
He isn’t much of a name, but his slower balls and bizarre action had most batsmen in a tizzy. He is capable of bowling upto 145, but his variety makes him a dangerous bowler in this format. He would make a fabulous combination with the raw pace of Steyn, while frustrating batsmen with his lack of bounce.
12th man—Lasith Malinga, the captain of the World Cup winning team, and oddly, the only member from Sri Lanka in this squad—only goes to show what a team effort it was. He bowled well when it mattered, and finally got the Indian hoodoo off his back. Even Dhoni couldn’t get him away.
Guptill, Hafeez, Watson, Yuvraj Singh, Samuels, Malik, De Kock, Dernbach, Morne Morkel, Southee, Mendis.