After the conclusion of the greatest World Cup final ever played, the 2016 World T20 finished on a note that it perhaps deserved. The next tournament is four years later in Australia, and many of the current world stars may not grace the stage at the time. After West Indies pulled off a heist that only they could have, the Man of the Tournament was awarded to Virat Kohli for the second World T20 in a row, after the 2014 edition. That makes him the unparalleled king of the big stage, though just second to Marlon Samuels, who has thrived in both finals he has played (2012 and 2016).
As is the tradition, here is the World T20 Dream Team, based on performances in this tournament. As a bonus, there’s a Flop XI too.
Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan)
The burly opener, just like his spirited and inspirational team, won hearts all over the globe by laying into opposition bowling attacks like he had nothing to lose. And he didn’t. Afghanistan ended up as the only team to defeat eventual World Champions West Indies – a statistic that will encourage administrators to write off associate teams at their own peril. Shahzad was the face of a fairy tale team that did everything to remind us why cricket is a game of glorious opportunities. Nobody will forget what he did to Dale Steyn, and his brave words in the press conference later. He became a prize scalp for many teams, and remained the only Afghan player with the ability to consistently clear the rope.
Option: Jason Roy (England) – the swashbuckling English batsman epitomized the new-age 2.0 attitude, and single-handedly won them the semifinal against favorites New Zealand. Despite his duck in the final, Roy is England’s biggest takeaway from a tournament that should have been theirs.
Martin Guptill (New Zealand)
He has been in the form of his life, and he only took forward the frightening legacy of Brendon McCullum by putting fear in the hearts of bowlers. He will wish that he capitalized on more starts, but the strategy of playing around Captain Kane Williamson seems to have taken him to the next level. Remember – this is the same man who has the second highest score in ODI cricket – a 235 in the World Cup last year.
Option: Usman Khwaja and Quinton de Kock.
Virat Kohli (India)
An average of 137 doesn’t even begin to tell the story. Rarely has a single man carried and dragged his underwhelming team to the knockouts the way Kohli did. He was heartbroken, of course, but only five sixes in the entire tournament shows how he has become a master of the hustle in a format that thrives on the West Indian way of cricket.
Joe Root (England)
'England’s Virat Kohli' had a tournament to last the ages. Often, Root, Kohli, Williamson and Smith are mentioned in the same bracket – and here’s why. Root was easily England’s most resourceful and reliable batsman once again, and even contributed with crucial wickets in the final. His average of 50 means that he has finally reached the peak of his powers, and is the defining voice in this new-age England batting lineup. Terms like “future captain”, “Best English batsman ever” don’t seem so delusional anymore.
Shane Watson (Australia)
The Aussie all-rounder’s last international tournament ever didn’t end in smiles – but he bowed out with a typically defining T20 performance against India, where he dragged his team to the brink until they were undone by Kohli’s brilliance. He was stingy and accurate with his bowling as ever, and even showed flexibility with his batting. Once again, he will be a top name in the IPL, and deservedly so.
Joss Buttler (England)
Easily the best wicket-keeper-batsman going around in cricket right now, Buttler was England’s most intimidating batsman. He is the most un-English batter out there, and his power has set them on the path to future greatness. He has some nifty glovework to boot too.
Andre Russell (West Indies)
His onslaught against a shell-shocked India in the Wankhede hides the fact that he has been West Indies’ most prolific wicket-taker in the tournament with nine wickets, though he went for some runs. His pace, power and destructive abilities makes him the best all-rounder in a lineup filled with world-class all-rounders.
Samuel Badree (West Indies)
Nine wickets at an average of 13, and most importantly, an economy rate of less than six. Badree, by the final, had become the tournament’s most effective spinner, and his brave, skillful powerplay bowling set the standard for bowlers in a batsman-oriented format.
Mitchell Santner (New Zealand)
10 wickets at 11 per wicket – Santner was a revelation, and part of a New Zealand spin duo (with Ish Sodhi) that undid even the most illustrious batting lineups in the world. Starting with their demolition of India (for 79), Santner went from strength to strength, and became part of a growing tribute of international spinners that took to Indian pitches faster than India’s own local stars.
David Willey (England)
The left-arm seamer did what Boult is usually known for doing for New Zealand. Willey impressed everyone with his control and swing in the initial overs, and almost always came back with a wicket-taking spell in the middle overs. He almost won England the final with some very clever bowling – until that last over happened.
Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh)
Perhaps the best left-arm bowler in the world right now, Rahman is Bangladesh’s most promising world-class prospect since Shakib Al Hasan. His skill, control and cutters are a thing of great wonder, and the youngster – who burst onto the scene last year against India in the ODI series – is head and shoulders above every other young bowler right now. Rarely has it been a pleasure to watch a seamer bowl after Wasim Akram, and this chap comes closest to accomplishing that marvelousness on the pitch. Bangladesh should take good care of him – he could take them to the top.
12th man: Carlos Brathwaite
Seriously, that last-over blitzkrieg against Stokes and England was perhaps the single greatest phase in World T20 cricket till now. And not to mention the three wickets he took – yes, he is an all-rounder, along with Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo and Jason Holder. The same mould of ‘everything’ cricketers, who is set to light the IPL on fire for the Delhi Daredevils this year.
Shikhar Dhawan, Alex Hales, Soumya Sarkar, Suresh Raina, Eoin Morgan, Umar Akmal, Corey Anderson, Ravindra Jadeja, Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Wahab Riaz