With a return to sport in 2021, cricket witnessed some of the most historic series wins, remarkable individual performances and underdogs winning the ICC tournaments. Cricket’s shortest format, T20 dominated the year with some spectacular individual performances and shocking setbacks at the T20 World Cup. However, throughout the year, numerous bilateral series took place and many players emerged as the rising stars for their team and great ambassadors of the game.
The year witnessed Pakistan emerging as a dominating force in the T20s, registering their maiden victory against mighty Indians in any World Cup but the former was shockingly knocked out from the ICC tournament. Australia, who were written off from the tournament, stunned world cricket by becoming the champion of the T20 World Cup for the first time, due to impressive performances from David Warner, Mitchell Marsh and Josh Hazlewood.
Rashid Khan’s dominance in T20 was quite consistent and maintaining his reputation, he performed exceptionally well where he toured. The year 2021 was all about players and team efforts due to which we witnessed some of the phenomenal quality cricket throughout the year. SportsTiger looks back at the year and has made an attempt for a probable T20I XI of 2021.
Matches: 29 || Innings: 26 || Runs: 1,326 || Highest 104*|| 100s : 1 || 50s : 12 || Average: 73.67
Md. Rizwan stunned the cricketing fraternity with his extraordinary batting skills which resulted in Pakistan’s dominance in T20s. Speaking of Rizwan’s skills, he scored 79 (not out) during his opening stand of 152 runs with Babar Azam, to register a maiden victory against India in World Cup, that too by 10 wickets.
Rizwan played 27 matches for Pakistan in 2021. With 1146 runs to his name, he became the perfect opener for Pakistan. Also, he is the only player now to score 2000 runs in T20s in a calendar year.
Matches: 07 || Innings: 07 || Runs: 289 || Highest 89*|| 100s : 0 || 50s : 03 || Average: 48.16
David Warner lacked consistency before the T20 World Cup and was facing heavy criticism for his inclusion in the squad. But as they say, legends know when to roll over their sleeves. Warner was phenomenal throughout the ICC tournament, his blazing bat helped him to score 289 runs from 7 innings. During the T20 World Cup, Warner scored three half-centuries with an average of 48.16.
Warner was vital in Australia winning its maiden T20 World Cup, and for his extraordinary performances, he was honoured with Man of the Series.
Babar Azam (C)
Matches: 29 || Innings: 26 || Total Runs: 939 || Highest Score: 122 || 100s: 1 || 50s: 09 || || Average: 37.56
Babar Azam has enhanced Pakistan cricket. His great captaincy skills and equally good batting helped Pakistan to make an impressive mark throughout the year. In the T20 World Cup, the team was unbeaten in the league stage and were considered favourites to lift the title before they faced an embarrassing defeat against Australia. But the partnership of Azam and Md. Rizwan made a lot of noise all around the world.
During the T20 World Cup, Babar was the highest run-scorer with 303 runs to his name. The highest score of 70 with an average of 60.60 shows his impact as a player. Due to his impressive knock and capability to anchor the innings, Kumar Sangakkara was all praise for Pak’s opener.
Jos Buttler (Wk)
Matches: 14 || Innings: 14 || Runs: 348 || Highest Score: 589 || Highest Score: 101* || 100s: 1 || 50s: 05 || Average: 65.44
Wicketkeeping batter Jos Buttler is an integral player for England in the shortest format of the game. The Englishman was their team’s star player in the T20 World Cup. He played two of its standout innings in the T20 World Cup- 71 not out against Australia and 101 not out against Sri Lanka.
Matches: 18 || Inning: 16 || Total: 570 || Highest Score: 70 || 100s: 00 || 50s: 06 || Average: 43:84
Aiden Markram was the standout player for South Africa. He was the highlight for the team in the T20 World Cup and throughout the year. Markram is the second player in the Men’s T20I batting rankings, with 796 rating points across his name.
During the T20 World Cup 2021, he made 162 runs in five matches at an average of 54 and a strike rate of 145.94. He made two half-centuries for South Africa in the tournament.
Matches: 21 || Innings: 20 || Total: 627 || Highest Score: 77* || 100s: 00 || 50s: 06 || Average: 36.88
Mitchell Marsh’s marvellous innings in the finals of the T20 World Cup was one of the best takeaways for Australia. A lot of questions were raised on his inclusion in the team but he proved his critics wrong. He contributed in each and every game and played a vital role for Australia in their maiden T20 World Cup title.
Matches: 08 || Overs : 28.2 || Runs: 188 || Wickets: 14 || Best Bowling Figure: 03/22 || Avg. 18.62
Rashid Khan’s dominance in world cricket is unparalleled. Last year, he became the player of the decade in the T20s and did justice to his recognition in 2021. Rashid was unplayable in the T20 World Cup. In 5 games, he picked 8 wickets. His economy rate of 6.10 shows his skills with the ball.
Given any day in the game, Rashid Khan can be lethal before any world-class batsman, and due to his extraordinary performances, he is regarded as the best spinner in the world.
Matches: 22 || Overs: 84.0 || Runs: 481 || Wickets: 36 || Best Bowling Figure: 04/25 || Average: 13.36
Tabraiz Shamsi is the number one bowler in the T20 rankings amongst bowlers. Shamsi played 22 T20Is and picked 36 wickets for his team. Over the year, he averaged 13.36 and had an impressive economic rate of 5.72. His inclusion in the team as a full-time spinner could be vital for the team, as his wicket-taking capabilities can provide important breakthroughs to the team.
Matches: 05 || Overs: 18.4 || Runs: 95 || Wickets: 07 || Best Bowling Figure: 02/10|| Average: 13.57
Jasprit Bumrah has earned a lot of praise for himself and has been a vital part of the India side. He is one of the most lethal bowlers in world cricket due to his toe breaking yorkers and economical bowling. In the T20 World Cup, Bumrah (2/10), wreaked havoc among the Scottish batters in his first spell. He surpassed Yuzvendra Chahal (65 scalps) to now become India’s highest wicket-taker in the shortest version.
Matches: 21|| Overs: 76.01 || Runs: 599 || Wickets: 23 || Best Bowling Figure: 03/26|| Average: 26.04
Shaheen Afridi was the bowler of the tournament for Pakistan. He was lethal against India in the T20 World Cup and proved his worth in the team. He destroyed the opening pair of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul during the T20 WC game between the two nations. In 20 games, he picked 19 wickets with an economy rate of 7.89. He has been Pakistan’s prominent bowler for over two years.
Matches: 15|| Overs: 54.04 || Runs: 376 || Wickets: 23 || Best Bowling Figure: 04/39|| Average: 16.34
Josh Hazlewood was a regular top-notch bowler in Tests and ODIs but this year he proved his worth as a T20 bowler as well. He ranks at number 6 in the ICC Men’s Bowling Ranking due to his impressive performance this year. In 7 games, Hazlewood picked 11 wickets for Australia. During the whole tournament, he had an impressive economy rate of 7.29.