2019 is almost coming to an end and the T20Is for the year are done and dusted. With 104 international teams in T20 cricket, there were as many as 306 T20Is that were played this year, including the T20 World Cup Qualifiers.
While the focus was largely on the 50-over World Cup of 2019 till June, now all of that focus has shifted to the T20 World Cup of 2020 which is scheduled to be played in Australia. There were multiple players who performed brilliantly. T20 is not an easy format where you can show consistency but there were players who had a very good year.
Thus, with just a few days left in 2019, we look at the best XI from T20 internationals from 2019:
(Note: Only Test-playing nations considered)
1. David Warner
It was a comeback year for David Warner. After serving a 12-month ban, Warner made a return to T20I cricket in October this year. He played just six games but emerged one of the best batsmen in T20Is this year.
In the six innings he played, Warner was dismissed just once. His lowest score was 2 not out but apart from that, the only time he was dismissed, he made 20. In the other innings, he had scores of 100, 60, 57 and 48 and he was unbeaten in all of those innings.
Overall, the swashbuckling left-hander made 287 runs and was striking at 145.69 this year. There may not be another player who will fit into the opening spot for the best XI of 2019.
2. Quinton de Kock (wk)
Only four wicket-keepers averaged in excess of 40 in the year 2019 as far as T20I cricket is concerned. Quinton de Kock is one among them. The South African opener may have played just three T20Is this year but has had a significant impact.
He played just one T20I against Sri Lanka at the start of the year before taking over as T20I captain for South Africa after the World Cup. The left-handed wicket-keeping batsman led from the front and looked in fine touch. He scored a couple of fifties (scores of 52 and 79 not out) against India and led South Africa to a series-levelling win as well.
Moreover, de Kock is one among the only two wicket-keepers to score two or more fifties in this year. Thus, he makes it to the best XI despite playing just three games.
3. Paul Stirling
If someone would’ve told you that Paul Stirling would end the year 2019 as the leading run-getter in T20Is, you would’ve laughed it off. However, Stirling has actually finished the year as the highest run-scorer of 2019. He’s had a phenomenal year.
Ireland may have played the most T20Is (23) among the Test-playing nations but Stirling has worked his way up to lead the batting charts for this year. In 20 innings, the Ireland opener has scored 748 runs at an average of 41.55 including eight half-centuries. Moreover, he had an impressive strike-rate of 140.60.
In fact, his 748 runs are the highest-ever by any batsman in a calendar year in the history of T20I cricket. He broke Shikhar Dhawan’s record of 689 runs which he set last year. Thus, it was a fine year for Stirling.
4. Virat Kohli
After a couple of rather sedate years in T20Is, Virat Kohli had a fantastic year in T20Is. The Indian captain averaged in the 30s in 2018 and 2019 and scored just three fifties across those two years. However, in 2019, he bettered those numbers and his career T20I average (which had dipped and gone into the 40s) is back over 50. He is the only player to average over 50 in each of the three formats.
In 10 innings in 2019, Kohli made 466 runs at an average of 77.67. Moreover, he had an excellent strike-rate of 147.94. His lowest score was 9 which was his only single-figure score in T20Is this year. The Indian skipper also scored five fifties.
Kohli also adapted really well. He was willing to drop down to No. 4 whenever the situation needed him to and still played really well. Thus, 2019 was the year when Kohli found back some of his old T20I form.
5. Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell may have been in the news for his mental health issues and for getting support from all around the world. His ODI numbers might overshadow his T20I exploits but he’s had another fine year in the shortest format. The Victorian all-rounder had a big impact and was one of the reasons why Australia were unbeaten in T20Is this year.
In 2019, Maxwell played just four games and batted in just three innings. Yet, he had a huge impact. He made fifty-plus in all the three innings he played. He made scores of 56, 113 not out and 62 as he led Australia to a win in every game.
The off-spinning all-rounder averaged 115.50 and had a strike-rate of 183.33 this year. Maxwell may have had an up and downtime in ODIs in 2019 but his T20I numbers are simply outstanding and continue to prove his worth in the shortest format.
6. Eoin Morgan (c)
You might wonder as to why Eoin Morgan is in this best T20I XI of 2019. But it is a fact that Morgan is a very underrated T20 player and most of his exploits go unnoticed around the other stars in the England line-up. He may not score every game but has a big impact every time he does.
In 2019, Morgan played nine games and scored 268 runs. He averaged 44.66 and had a stunning strike-rate of 172.90. Morgan is one who can hit sixes at will and can turn the game in the middle overs of a T20 game. Moreover, he is one of the best white-ball captains going around in world cricket at the moment.
He has led England to seven wins, including the Super Over win against New Zealand. Thus, Morgan will captain this side. There was the option of going with Virat Kohli but given Morgan’s record as captain in 2019 as T20 captain, it’s fair to go with Morgan.
7. Mitchell Santner
He may not hog the limelight like some of the other spinners in the world but Mitchell Santner is among the best spinners going around in white-ball cricket at the moment. The left-arm spinner is one of the few finger spinners who has taken wickets and also stemmed the flow of runs.
Santner has the joint-most wickets for a spinner in T20Is this year. The Kiwi left-arm spinner has picked up 20 wickets at an average of 15.40. He has a strike-rate of 12.6 and an economy of 7.33. In fact, his 20 wickets are the third-most by any bowler in the shortest format this year.
Moreover, the left-hander was also striking at 127.40 with the bat. Thus, he will bat at No. 7 and provide balance to the team.
8. Rashid Khan
It’s hard for anyone to look beyond Rashid Khan in T20 cricket. Year after year, he’s producing some fabulous numbers. In 2019, the Afghanistan superstar picked up 20 wickets at an average of 12.90. He was striking once every two overs and had an economy of 6.62.
It’s been more than four years since Rashid made his debut and batsmen still find it tough against him. They find it tough to pick his variations and prefer to play his four overs out on most occasions. He is the heart of Afghanistan’s bowling attack and it’s his four overs that often decide the fate of the game.
In the last four years, 2019 was the third instance of Rashid finishing the year with 20 or more wickets in T20Is. Even in the year (2017) he didn’t pick 20 wickets, he took 17 wickets and had an economy of 4.57. Thus, Rashid is arguably the best T20 spinner going around at the moment.
9. Chris Jordan
Here is another underrated player who has quietly performed consistently and yet hasn’t hogged the limelight. Chris Jordan has been England’s premier T20 bowler and has missed just one T20I game since the World T20 in 2016. He is England’s bank and Eoin Morgan often goes to Jordan if he’s in search of a wicket.
Out of the nine T20Is that England played this year, Jordan featured in eight of those and led the pace attack. He took 14 wickets and ended the year as the leading wicket-taker for England in the shortest format. He had a strike-rate of 10.2 and was excellent throughout the year.
Jordan has the ability to nail the yorkers and is very effective at the death. He can even tonk a few towards the end. The Barbados-born England player has a strike-rate of 218.18 with the bat in 2019 in T20Is.
10. Deepak Chahar
He may have made his T20I debut last year but 2019 was the coming of age of Deepak Chahar. He didn’t have the best of debuts against England in July 2018. But a good run in the 2019 IPL and a good domestic season saw his return to the side. In his comeback game, he took three wickets while conceding four runs against West Indies.
He’s just built on that and has cemented his spot in the Indian T20 team. Chahar also went on to take the best ever figures in the history of T20I cricket. He took six wickets for just seven runs and led India to a series win over Bangladesh.
In all, the Rajasthan pacer played nine games and took 16 wickets. He had an economy of 6.53 while he was striking once every two overs. Thus, it’s hard to look past him in T20Is this year. He was the fifth-highest wicket-taker in T20Is in 2019.
11. Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga went on to show that age is just a number and he can still produce some magic. He had a fine year and led Sri Lanka’s young pace attack. He did announce his retirement from ODI cricket after the World Cup but continued playing the shortest format and was brilliant.
Malinga played 10 T20Is in 2019 and was by far Sri Lanka’s best bowler. Only on three occasions did Malinga concede more than 30 runs in his spell. Moreover, he reproduced some old magic against New Zealand as he picked up five wickets for six runs which included four wickets in as many balls.
Even in Australia, when all the other bowlers were taken to the cleaners, Malinga controlled things from his end. Thus, the ace Sri Lankan pacer took 14 wickets and had an economy of 6.43 this year.
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