• Saturday, February 28, 2015

Star Eleven

The past three weeks have seen outstanding individual performances from cricketers of diverse backgrounds. We have indulged in the cricket lovers' favourite pastime: creating a world eleven. Of course you will not agree with all of these, but the point is to kick-start debate – enjoy.
1. Stephan Myburgh (Ned): He played perhaps the innings of the tournament (63 off 23 with seven sixes) against Ireland to take Netherlands through. Then he hammered 51 off 28 against South Africa. 224 runs at a strike rate of 154 makes him an automatic pick.
2. Hashim Amla (RSA): The South African is the cool head at the top that T20 teams need. He has been scoring consistently throughout -- his lowest innings has been 22 while he has scored three innings above 40. He is also one of the best players of spin going around -- perfect for these conditions.
3. Virat Kohli (Ind): On top of the tournament run charts with 242 at an average of 121, Kohli has the eerie ability to rise to the occasion when needed. He has scored three fifties, but none were as important as his nerveless 72 in the semifinal against South Africa while chasing down 172.
4. JP Duminy (RSA): This talented South African left-hander brings great utility to the side. Hitting a 43-ball 86 against New Zealand, he was instrumental in one of the close matches that South Africa won in the group stages. He sits fourth on the run-scorers' charts with 187, and is more than a useful left-arm spinner.
5. AB de Villiers (RSA, wicketkeeper): Although he has not kept wickets for South Africa in this tournament, he will bring great balance to this side if he slots into that role. One of the most inventive batsmen in the world, as he proved with his 28-ball 69 against England, he is the perfect launching pad at number five.
6. Dwayne Bravo (WI): Bravo was instrumental in almost taking West Indies to the semifinals. In the wins against Australia and Pakistan, he entered the game in the lower middle order and destroyed the strong attacks. Add to that his sublime fielding and intelligent medium pace, and you would struggle to find a better all-rounder.

7. Darren Sammy (WI, captain): The captain that united the fractious West Indies has started to come into his own as a batsman of explosive audacity. One of the images of the World Twenty20 will be Sammy hitting James Faulkner for two sixes to pull off the chase. He also plundered 82 off the last five overs against Pakistan with Bravo.
8. Sunil Narine (WI): Batsmen know that they cannot score freely off the West Indian in the middle overs and that is the most fearsome quality in a T20 match. His economy rate in this tournament has been a miserly 4.6, and the strangle only leads to wickets falling, a valuable asset for a captain.
9. Lasith Malinga (SL): After the middle overs comes the death and ask any captain worldwide, Malinga is the man they want running in. With that slinging action he keeps firing in yorkers and even well set batsmen are found wanting. An economy rate of 5.92 when he bowls most overs at the death is proof of his value.
10. Dale Steyn (RSA): With South Africa's Steyn at the other end, the opponents have little chance. His achievement in bowling five dot balls when New Zealand needed seven from the last over is perhaps the most special of this tournament. That he bowled those deliveries well over 140 kph speaks of his extreme aggression and confidence.
11. Amit Mishra (Ind): He flights the ball, an approach that modern batsmen are unaccustomed to, and spins the ball a mile. He basically shut down the innings of West Indies, Pakistan and Bangladesh with his accurately flighted leg breaks and googly, and if the pitch offers any turn, he is the man to throw the ball to.

Published: 12:00 am Sunday, April 06, 2014

Last modified: 2:59 am Sunday, April 06, 2014

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