With each passing year, T20 cricket is just getting bigger and better. There are a lot more T20 games and T20 leagues than before and multiple players from all across the world are busy playing these leagues.
The end of one T20 league brings the dawn of another. A few of them are even playing concurrently. Players play for more than three or four teams as well in a year apart from their national side. They have a busy schedule keeping up with multiple leagues around the world.
Moreover, there are quite a few players who have consistently performed in T20 leagues across the world but don’t really get picked or perform in international cricket.
Thus, with 2019 coming to an end, here’s an XI from the best performers across the T20 leagues:
1. D’Arcy Short (BBL, T20 Blast)
For someone who is piling up the runs in domestic cricket and T20 cricket, it’s surprising to see him not feature in the national side regularly. For the last couple of seasons, D’Arcy Short has been dominating the Big Bash League (BBL). He’s the leading run-getter and has led the charge for the Hobart Hurricanes.
This year, Short has scored 564 runs at an average of 51.27 this year in the BBL, including the 2019-20 season. Not only in the BBL, the left-handed opener also amassed 483 runs in the T20 Blast. He averaged 43.90 and had a strike-rate of nearly 140 playing for Durham.
He even played a couple of T20Is for Australia earlier in the year. Overall, Short played 28 T20 games and amassed 1124 runs at an average of 46.83. He had a fine year and yet can’t find a permanent place in the Australian T20 side as it’s packed with superstars.
2. James Vince (T20 Blast, BBL, Super Smash, PSL, MSL)
For long, James Vince has often looked a very attractive player and has promised a lot. However, he’s not lived up to expectation in international cricket. The Hampshire batsman has played white-ball cricket in parts for England this year. In five T20Is, he’s scored just 146 runs at an average of 29.20.
But he’s been very consistent across T20 leagues around the globe. Vince has played in five T20 leagues apart from playing for England. He played the T20 Blast, Super Smash, Big Bash League (BBL), Pakistan Super League (PSL) and Mzansi Super League (MSL). Barring the Super Smash in New Zealand where he played just two games, Vince has scored runs consistently in all the other leagues.
From 47 T20 games overall, he has scored 1368 runs which is the fourth-most in T20 cricket in 2019. He averages 34.20 and has a strike-rate of 134.91. He even scored nine fifties and scored the third-most number of fours (136) in T20 cricket this year.
3. AB de Villiers (IPL, BPL, PSL, T20 Blast, MSL)
Ab de Villiers may have announced his retirement back in May 2018 but till today, there is a lot of limelight on him and his possible international come back. But de Villiers continues to play T20 cricket around the world and continues to dominate. He has been at the top of the batting charts in most T20 leagues.
Overall, the South African superstar has played 43 T20 games this year. He has scored 1580 runs at an average of 52.66 and a strike-rate of 156.90. Moreover, he has registered 14 half-centuries and a hundred as well.
He’s amassed more than 200 runs in every T20 league this year. In each of them, he averages more than 40 and barring the PSL, de Villiers has a strike-rate in excess of 150. Thus, despite retiring from international cricket, de Villiers hasn’t lost out on form and continues to be one of the best in the business.
4. Suryakumar Yadav (IPL, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy)
With the Indian players not allowed to play other T20 leagues, they are bound to just two T20 tournaments. One is the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the other is their traditional domestic T20 competition, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Suryakumar Yadav has done really well in both of those and is pushing a case to be selected in the national side.
For two Syed Mushtaq Ali tournaments, Suryakumar had similar tournaments and scored heavily. He averaged in excess of 50 and had a strike-rate in excess of 145 in both. Overall, he played 21 games in the Indian domestic T20 competition and scored 752 runs at an average of 53.71 and a strike-rate of 156.67.
In the IPL, the Mumbai batsman scored 424 runs and had a big role in Mumbai Indians’ title-winning run. Thus, with 1176 runs at an average of 43.55, Suryakumar is 11th on the list most T20 runs this year.
5. Manish Pandey (IPL, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy)
Manish Pandey has been in and around the Indian team for quite some time now. However, he’s regularly warmed the bench and has very rarely found a place in the Indian XI. He did play five T20Is this year but scored just 49 runs at an average of 24.50.
However, apart from that, Pandey has been in excellent form and has been consistently scoring runs in domestic cricket. Be it the IPL or the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Pandey has performed consistently. In two seasons of the Syed Mushtaq Ali, the Karnataka batsman has made 645 runs at an average of 71.67. He has a strike-rate of 167.97 as well and scored a couple of tons as well.
Moreover, he’s led Karnataka to two IPL titles as well. In the IPL, Pandey made 344 runs at an average of 43.00 as he represented Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Thus, despite not playing a lot for India, it was a good run for Pandey.
6. Nicholas Pooran (IPL, CPL, T20 Blast, BPL)
It was a year where Nicholas Pooran impressed quite a bit and has shown a lot of promise. Pooran showed flashes of brilliance in international cricket and scored 164 runs at an average of 23.43 in T20Is. But he was a lot more consistent in the T20 leagues.
Pooran took part in four T20 leagues this year and was very good. Be it the IPL, Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) or the T20 Blast in England, the West Indies left-hander was very impressive. If you exclude international cricket, Pooran scored 861 runs combined in these four leagues. He averaged nearly 40 and had a strike-rate of 160+.
7. Andre Russell (IPL, BPL, CPL, PSL)
If there is one player that every T20 team wants, then it has to be Andre Russell. The West Indian all-rounder can have an impact in all three departments and is a real game-changer. He can tonk sixes at will and pick wickets and break partnerships and can field well too.
The Caribbean all-rounder did all of that in 2019. Russell did not play for the West Indies this year and has been constantly playing T20 leagues around the world. He’s aggregated 1019 runs at an average of 39.19. But it is his strike-rate that makes a telling difference.
No other player who has at least 300 runs in T20 cricket has a better strike-rate than Russell in 2019. The hard-hitting all-rounder has a strike-rate of 182.94 and has hit 95 sixes, the second-most this year. He’s picked 41 wickets to go with his batting exploits. Thus, he will be one of the first names on a team sheet.
8. Sunil Narine (IPL, CPL, BPL)
Sunil Narine is among one of the best spinners in T20 cricket at the moment. Narine may have had to remodel his action but he is still a threat and uses his four overs very smartly. The mystery spinner played just three games for West Indies this year and has played 34 other T20 games.
Narine has featured in three T20 leagues this year. He’s played in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). In those tournaments combined, Narine has taken 35 wickets.
He is very tight and often teams look to play his overs out without giving him too many wickets. Moreover, Narine can bat too and can be used as a floater. He has a strike-rate of 146.65 in T20 cricket in 2019.
9. Wahab Riaz (BPL, PSL, National T20 Cup)
For too long now, Pakistan have banked on Wahab Riaz but he’s flattered to deceive. The left-arm pacer hasn’t stood up and performed in international cricket and has been guilty of being too expensive. This year, he played just four T20Is for Pakistan.
However, Riaz did feature in a few other T20 leagues. He played the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), Mzansi Super League (MSL) and also Pakistan’s domestic T20 Cup apart from the Pakistan Super League (PSL). In all, Riaz played 44 games and took 53 wickets. He averaged 21.70 and had a decent economy of 7.40.
Thus, the 34-year-old finished the year 2019 as the sixth-highest wicket-taker in T20 cricket. In addition to his bowling, Riaz can tonk a few with the bat at the back end as well.
10. Harry Gurney (IPL, BBL, CPL, PSL, T20 Blast)
Harry Gurney is one of the premier T20 bowlers going around the world but he’s hardly noticed. He may be slightly expensive but keeps chipping away with wickets. The England left-arm pacer has taken 56 wickets across five T20 leagues and is sitting fourth on the list of most wickets in T20 cricket this year.
The IPL was the only league where Gurney had a disappointing time. He returned with just seven wickets from eight games. Apart from that, he’s done well in the Big Bash, Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and the T20 Blast. In fact, he finished as the leading wicket-taker in the T20 Blast as he took 22 wickets from 12 games.
Thus, Gurney is a very effective T20 bowler. He can bowl a couple of overs upfront with the new ball. However, his utility is at the death where he uses his variations and also nails the yorkers to great effect.
11. Imran Tahir (IPL, CPL, MSL, T20 Blast)
Earlier in the year, Imran Tahir announced his retirement from the 50-over format. However, he continued playing T20 cricket and will end the year as the leading wicket-taker of 2019. Tahir has picked up 79 wickets in 51 T20 games this year and has an average of 16.15. Moreover, he strikes once every 15 balls and has an economy of 6.63.
Tahir has played just one T20I this year and all the others have come in various T20 leagues. In each of those four, he’s been somewhere around the top of the bowling charts. In the IPL, he won the Purple Cap as he scalped 26 wickets. He was the joint-fifth in the T20 Blast with 19 wickets. He topped the list in the MSL with 17 wickets while he was second in the CPL with 16 wickets.
Thus, it was Tahir’s year with the ball. He was simply outstanding and kept churning out wickets in every T20 league he played. He is way ahead of the second-placed Sandeep Lamichhane as far as wickets in the 2019 T20s are concerned.
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