T20 XI of 2018

There were several notable performers during the year gone-by in Twenty20 Internationals. While Pakistan were the most dominant side of the year and rightly finished 2018 as the top-ranked side, we have churned out a list of the top performers from across the international teams who make up CricketCountry’s T20I XI of the year.

T20I XI: 1. Shikhar Dhawan, 2. Babar Azam, 3. Colin Munro, 4. Glenn Maxwell, 5. Shoaib Malik, 6. Shakib Al Hasan, 7. Sarfraz Ahmed (c and wk), 8. Rashid Khan, 9. Kuldeep Yadav, 10. Billy Stanlake, 11. Andrew Tye

 

shikhar dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan was the leading run-getter of 2018 in T20Is (AFP Photo)

Shikhar Dhawan: M 18, I 17, R 689, Ave 40.52, SR 147.22
A consistent performer throughout the year. He scored plenty of runs, 689, the most by any in 2018 in the format. Had just one poor series, against England where he managed 19 runs across three innings. He scored in South Africa, Sri Lanka, Australia and at home. In 17 innings, struck six half-centuries and came close to recording maiden century twice – against Sri Lanka in the Nidahas T20 Tri-series when he scored 90 and then against West Indies in Chennai in a successful chase where he got off the penultimate delivery for a 62-ball 92.

Babar Azam: M 12, I 12, R 563, Ave 62.55, SR 126.51
Babar Azam could have potentially ended as the leading run-getter of the year had he not sustained a fracture during the tour of England that forced him out of action for almost six weeks. In 12 innings, the 24-year-old Pakistan opener averaged 62.55 with six half-centuries. Against West Indies in Karachi, he struck a career-best 97* in a match-winning total of 205/3. He was part of four bilateral T20I series – two against New Zealand and one each vs West Indies and Australia. He missed out the Zimbabwe tri-series that included Australia which Pakistan went on to win.

Colin Munro: M 12, I 12, R 500, Ave 45.45, SR 178.57
Essentially an opener, Colin Munro walks into the side as a dependable No. 3 having ended as the top-run getter across T20s and the Caribbean Premier League. Having opened for New Zealand across the year, he struck a century and four half-centuries. His 2018 began with a bang – a 23-ball 66 followed by a then record third century in T20Is, both against West Indies. He was the third highest run-getter of a T20I tri-series involving Australia and New Zealand, finishing with 196 runs at 49. He continued his excellent form against Pakistan in the UAE as well – his scores read 58, 44 and 2 across three matches.

Glenn Maxwell: M 19, I 18, R 506, Ave 36.14, SR 143.75
The Big Show made the No. 4 spot his own from where in the beginning of the year, he scored a memorable unbeaten 58-ball 103 after Australia lost two wickets in the first over against England during a T20I tri-series also involving New Zealand. He scored 233 runs during the series at an unreal average of 116.5 to finish as the second highest run-getter. His other notable performances were against Zimbabwe (56 off 38), Pakistan (52 off 37) and India (46 off 24). Batting in the middle order can be a tough ask where a batsman rarely gets a chance to settle in and then start playing his shot. Maxwell cemented his position as a dependable bet capable of maintaining the momentum given by the top-order or counter-attacking at will to guide his team out of trouble.

Shoaib Malik: M 16, I 15, R 369, Ave: 41, SR: 164
He might be in the last stage of his international career but Shoaib Malik continues to be a rock-solid presence in a Pakistan’s limited-overs team. His services were often needed at the fag end of the innings and he decently performed his role of a finisher, giving the necessary push in the death overs. When required to bat early after top-order’s early dismissal, he stepped up admirably, like against Scotland (53 and 49*), Zimbabwe (37*) and Australia (43*). Off his 15 innings, he remained not out on six occasions apart from scoring a solitary fifty as well.

Shakib Al Hasan: M 11, R 248, Wkts 15
A top-class allrounder across formats, Shakib Al Hasan continues to underline his importance as Bangladesh’s talisman. In a recent three-T20I series, he put in excellent performances both with the bat and ball to keep his team alive against West Indies. Amidst a top-order collapse in the first T20I, he scored 61 in a decent final total and then levelled the series with an unbeaten 42 and a five-wicket haul in the 2nd T20I. He struck two fifties during the year, both against West Indies apart from a five-wicket haul against the same opponent.

Sarfraz Ahmed (captain and wk): M 19, Won 17, Lost: 2, R 354 D: 20 (15 catches, 5 stumpings)
Boasting a winning percentage of 89.47 (second best after Afghanistan’s 100%) makes him the leader of this eleven. He led Pakistan in six T20I series during 2018, winning all of them including a tri-series involving Zimbabwe and Australia. Pakistan finished at the top spot in T20I rankings way above India and England. He scored one fifty, an unbeaten 89 against Scotland. His runs came while batting in the middle order. His 20 dismissals were the most by any ‘keeper.

Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan averaged an excellent 8.68 (AFP Photo)

Rashid Khan: M 8, Wkts 22, Ave 8.68, Eco 6.36
There’s a reason Afghanistan boast of a player of is the top-ranked bowler in T20Is. There’s a reason why Afghanistan finished 2018 undefeated in the format, winning all their seven matches. The reason is Rashid. The star legspinner had another stellar year, as he continued to bamboozle batsmen across the globe with his variations. His year began against Zimbabwe in the UAE where he took five wickets in two matches. He was part of the ICC World XI that took on West Indies in at Lord’s. As Afghanistan clean-swept Bangladesh in a three-T20I series, he was the star, taking eight wickets at 6.12.

Kuldeep Yadav: M9, Wkts 21, Ave 9.8, Eco 5.97
The fast bowler-turned-spinner continued to build his reputation as a top-class wicket-taker against whom batsmen struggle initially, ending up playing rash shots and losing their wickets. Against England in Manchester, he took 5/24 – his maiden five-wicket haul in the format. Then Windies batsmen found themselves clueless in Kolkata where he finished with figures of 3/13 from four overs. He finished as the fifth highest wicket-taker and walks into the side ahead of Shadab Khan because of the variety he offers with his left-arm spin.

Billy Stanlake: M 16, Wkts 25, Ave 18.40, Eco 7.79
Stanlake was the third highest wicket-taker of the year. He made a comeback to the T20Is in February almost after a year when he made his Australia debut which was forgettable. He returned in a dominating fashion, taking with figures of 3/15 against New Zealand. His career-best performance came against Pakistan in Harare taking 4/8 in a crushing win. A high economy rate is because often he’s asked to bowl in the Powerplay overs but propensity to strike makes him a valuable addition.

andrew tye
Andrew Tye was the leading wicket-taker in T20Is (AFP Photo)

Andrew Tye: M 19, Wkts 31, Ave 18.93, Eco 8.56
The years leading wicket-taker Tye walks in as the pace spearhead. The economy rate is on the higher side but he has the knack of picking up wickets. His year began on a stellar note as he took 4/23 against New Zealand in Sydney in what was a tri-nation series also involving England. He finished as the leading wicket-taker of the Trans-Tasman series with 10 wickets at 17.40 as Australia went on to lift the trophy. In another Tri-series, this time involving hosts Zimbabwe and Pakistan, he picked three wickets in every match barring the final which Australia lost. He yet again was the top-wicket taker with 12 scalps at 12.16.