When the 2010s decade began, T20 cricket was the least popular format as the fans preferred to watch the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, and Virender Sehwag play in the other two formats. The Indian Premier League was just two years old but as the years passed, the T20 format evolved and has now become the most popular format of the sport.
Earlier, the players used to neglect T20 cricket to improve their game in the other two formats. However; the time has now changed and now; the players are much more focused about their T20 cricket abilities. The cricketers try to extend their careers by bidding adieu to Tests and ODIs while continuing to feature in the T20 format.
A lot of new stars have emerged in the cricket universe owing to T20 cricket’s growth. Since the bowlers play a much important role in this format, let’s have a look at the rating of the 10 best T20I bowlers of the decade:
Former Pakistan captain, Shahid Afridi was one of the best all-rounders in T20 cricket. The fans enjoyed watching him bat because of his aggressive approach while Afridi also won a lot of matches for Pakistan with his leg-spin bowling. The all-rounder played his last T20I in 2018.
During this decade, the leg-spinner featured in 73 T20I matches, scalping 61 wickets at a magnificent economy rate of 6.96. He had best bowling figures of 4/14 while his bowling average of 29.81 shows that he could pick wickets at regular intervals.
One of Pakistan’s greatest T20I stars, Afridi also played for the ICC XI. The leg-spinner stayed as the best spinner of his nation for the better part of this decade but, soon the upcoming spin bowlers took his position in the team.
Shakib Al Hasan–7.5/10
Another spin bowling all-rounder to feature in this elite list is Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan. The fans not only bill him to be the best all-rounder of his country but the cricket universe also recognizes him as the premier T20 all-rounder.
Shakib has been a match-winner for Bangladesh and he has played a crucial role in his team’s rise. Talking about his bowling statistics in T20I cricket now, Shakib has featured in 65 matches over the last ten years, taking 79 wickets for his country.
He has conceded runs at an incredible economy rate of 6.83. The 32-year-old is one of the few spin bowlers to have taken a five-wicket haul in T20 internationals. His best figures are 5/20 whereas he has also taken two four wicket-hauls in his career.
The Asian spin bowling all-rounders have ruled the roost in T20I cricket and the presence of Mohammad Nabi in this countdown signifies the aforementioned statement. Afghanistan was an associate nation when this decade began and they had not even played in a single T20 World Cup.
They made their World Cup debut in 2010. Although they could not win a match in that mega-event, they have never looked back since then. Nabi served as the skipper of Afghanistan for a major period of this decade, leading his team from the front in both the departments.
He bowled 256.4 overs in the 75 matches he played for the Blue Tigers. The right-arm off-spinner picked up 69 T20I wickets while giving away runs at an average of 7.16. The batsmen have found it difficult to hit big shots off his deliveries.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been India’s best T20I spinner of this decade. With an aim of playing aggressive cricket, the Indian selectors introduced the wrist spinning duo of Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav in the Indian T20I team. While Yadav achieved more success in the initial stages, he is not a part of the team right now.
Chahal has continued to dominate in the Indian T20I jersey. He became the first Indian bowler to take a six-wicket haul in T20 internationals when he took 6 wickets for 25 runs in a T20I match against England.
The Haryana-based leg-spinner made his debut in 2016 however, he finished the decade as India’s most successful bowler. This shows the impact that Chahal has made in the T20I arena. He has scalped 52 wickets in just 35 matches at a strike rate of 15.80.
Just like Shakib Al Hasan, left-arm fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman has been the cornerstone of Bangladesh in T20Is. He has solved Bangladesh’s death bowling woes with his witty variations and perfect yorkers. The batsmen could not score runs off him in the final overs.
The Satkhira-born pacer made his T20 international debut against Pakistan in 2015. He cemented his spot in the Bangladesh team by impressing the fans and critics with his performances in the first few games.
In the last five years, Mustafizur Rahman has represented Bangladesh in 37 T20I matches, dismissing 52 batsmen at a bowling average of 20.48. Although he bowls in the power-play overs and slog overs, his economy rate is just 7.87. This shows his dominance in the shortest format of the game.
One of the most underrated spin bowlers of the world, Imran Tahir has spearheaded South Africa’s spin bowling department in T20 internationals. The Pakistan-born leg-spinner had played his first T20I match for South Africa against Sri Lanka in 2013.
The 40-year-old spinner played 38 T20I matches in his career and took 63 wickets. Being a leg-spinner, Tahir always believed in giving the ball some flight and invited the batsmen to try their luck. His two four-wicket hauls and two five-wicket hauls showcase his importance in the Proteas team.
Imran had best figures of 5/23 in his career whereas his economy rate was just 6.73. With a bowling average of 15.04 and a strike rate of 13.04, Tahir was undoubtedly the best T20I bowler of South Africa this decade.
The spin bowler who kick-started a new trend of rolling his arm in the power-play overs, Samuel Badree was the best West Indian bowler of this decade. He donned the maroon jersey for the first time in 2012 against New Zealand.
The fact that Badree never featured in the West Indies ODI and Test teams shows how talented he was as a T20 player. The Trinidad-born player played 52 T20 matches for West Indies with his economy rate of 6.17 being the highlight of his career.
Samuel scalped 56 wickets in his career but his job was to ensure that the opposition team does not get off to a flier start during the fielding restrictions. He succeeded in that role and later played T20 cricket all around the globe.
The most successful Indian debutant of the decade, Jasprit Bumrah stands so high in this list despite playing his first T20I match in the second half of the decade. The yorker specialist has been a nightmare for the opposition batsmen as very few players have been able to dominate him.
Riding on the back of his fantastic performances in the domestic circuit and IPL, Jasprit made his T20I debut against Australia in 2016. The Ahmedabad-based bowler played a key role in the Indian pace attack in the T20 World Cup played later that year.
He has featured in 42 T20I games for his country, taking 51 wickets at an economy rate of 6.71. Just like Mustafizur Rahman, Bumrah usually bowls in the first and last stage of the innings thus, having an economy rate less than 7 shows how gifted Bumrah is.
The only reason Jasprit Bumrah is not a part of the top two is that this list considers statistics for this decade while Bumrah had not played a single match before 2016. One of the only two bowlers to have a rating of over 9 points is Afghanistan’s captain Rashid Khan.
The upcoming leg-spinner made his T20I debut just one year before Bumrah but he ended the decade with 33 more wickets. Rashid once bowled an unbelievable spell in T20Is where he took 5 wickets while conceded only 3 runs.
The Afghan skipper has two five-wicket hauls and three four-wicket hauls to his name. These two numbers show why he is so highly rated in the shortest format and his economy rate of 6.15 runs per over is the icing on the cake.
The man who has taken fast bowling to newer heights with his variations and toe-breaking yorkers, Lasith Malinga has owned the batsmen in T20I cricket this decade. The Sri Lankan bowler has scalped 82 wickets in 59 matches at a brilliant strike rate of 15.90.
In the year 2019, Malinga became the first pace bowler to take four wickets off four balls in T20I cricket as he blew away New Zealand with his incredible spell in that match. Apart from that, he also has two five-wicket hauls to his name in T20I cricket.
With an economy rate of 7.15, the Galle-born speedster has been the backbone of the Sri Lankan cricket team in T20 internationals. He has even played the role of the Sri Lankan T20I team’s skipper.
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