From Malinga’s four wickets in four balls to Kohli’s 94 off 50 deliveries, we have compiled T20Is’ top performances of 2019. These performers not only won the hearts but also helped their teams register thrilling and memorable wins.
TOP THREE BATTING PERFORMANCES
Virat Kohli – 94* (50) v West Indies in Hyderabad
Chasing a target of 208 – India’s biggest and fifth highest overall in T20Is - India lost Rohit Sharma early. Playing a T20I after two and a half months, Kohli struggled to find rhythm at the start. At the halfway mark, Kohli was batting on 20 off 20 balls. India needed a further 119 off the last 10 overs. He adopted multiple tactics to fire himself - cursing mistimed strokes, having heated discussions with the umpires on borderline extras to even signaling the staring bowler to go back to his mark. The tipping point in Kohli’s innings was the first ball of the 15th over. Facing Jason Holder, Kohli hit the ball over the long-off fielder and over the ropes. His ensuing 44 runs came off the next 14 balls to end the game for India with eight balls to spare.
In the following over, Kohli smashed Williams for a straight four and then hit the shot of the match when he used his bottom hand to send the ball for a six over long on. A moment from the game etched in memory is when Kohli enacted William’s strike-off celebration after hitting a six. The Kohli show continued as he whipped Kieron Pollard for a six over deep mid-wicket. He finished the game by carting Williams for two more sixes. Delighted by his innings, Kohli patted his name on his back before raising his arms to soak in the applause.
Glenn Maxwell- 113* (55) vs India in Bangalore
Chasing a 191-run target on Bangalore’s tricky pitch, Australia already had lost two wickets for 22 runs against India. The visitors looked in trouble early on, after Marcus Stoinis (7) and skipper Aaron Finch (8) had to go back to the pavilion. Glenn Maxwell then shouldered the run-scoring responsibility to help Australia win their maiden T20I series in India. Opener D’Arcy Short and Maxwell built a 73-run partnership off 43 deliveries that brought the visitors back before the former fell in the 12th over. Australia needed 60 off 30 to win with seven wickets in hand. Then the game began. Maxwell smashed Yuzvendra Chahal for two sixes to turn the game in the visitors’ favour. In the last two overs, Australia needed 14 runs, Maxwell jammed a yorker down to the leg side to make his third T20 hundred. The player finished the match in style with a six over long-off and a four to extra cover smashing Siddarth Kaul to help Australia register a memorable win by seven wickets. Maxwell struck seven fours and nine sixes to end with 113 off 55 balls.
Hazratullah Zazai 162* (62) vs Ireland in Dehradun
Hazratullah Zazai had made his intentions clear when he struck the third ball of the innings from Josh Little into the fence. Little did Ireland know what was about to be unleashed. What followed was a flurry of clean strikes, which included as many as 16 sixes – A world record in a T20I. The Irish bowlers had no answers to Zazai’s onslaught – so much so that his opening partner Usman Ghani (73 off 48) was completely overshadowed despite playing a huge part in a record-breaking opening wicket partnership of 236. Zazai had some luck going his way as George Dockrell dropped a dolly at deep point and then once again when he was on 113 by Simi Singh at long-on, but the damage was already done by then. Zazai finished with an unbeaten 162 scoring 27 boundaries along the way and a strike-rate of 261.29. He fell 13 short of Aaron Finch’s 175, which still remains the highest individual T20I score. Zazai’s innings will go down as one of the greatest innings of all time in the shortest format.
TOP THREE BOWLING PERFORMANCES
Lasith Malinga- 4 for 4 vs New Zealand in Pallekele
Hosts Sri Lanka already had lost the three-match T20I series after being defeated at the hands of New Zealand in the first two matches. The third game was in Pallekele and chances were that New Zealand would blank Sri Lanka in the series. However, Lasith Malinga had other plans. Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. They put up a score of 125 after losing eight wickets. New Zealand had a very easy target to chase, but Malinga tilted the match in the hosts’ favour. On the third ball of his second over, the Sri Lankan player bowled Colin Munro for 12 and became the first T20 bowler to grab 100 wickets. He then trapped Hamish Rutherford in front off the next ball. However, on-field umpire gave it not out and Malinga immediately went for the review where he was proved right. The hat-trick was soon completed when he got Colin de Grandhomme with an amazing swinging delivery. Still there was more drama to come and Malinga came up with a masterful yorker to send Ross Taylor back to the pavilion. In his third over, Malinga completed his second 5-wicket haul in T20Is when he got the wicket of wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert. New Zealand could not chase the target and were bundled out for 88 in 16 overs.
Karim Janat - 5 for 11 v West Indies in Lucknow
Afghanistan pacer Karim Janat had to watch his team get whitewashed by West Indies in the ODIs from the bench and then was forced out of the first T20I because of a sore finger. He finally got an opportunity to play in the second match and the 21-year-old blew apart Kieron Pollard's men with a fine display of fast bowling to give his team their first win of the tour. The 21-year-old hit West Indies with his raw pace and great intensity to finish with superb figures of 5 for 11. No other bowler has a better record against West Indies in a T20I encounter, while his bowling figures is the second best for Afghanistan after Rashid Khan’s (5 for 3) in this format. Having already lost the first T20I, Afghanistan could only manage 147 for 7 in their 20 overs. Janat got the ball in the seventh over and straightaway got rid of Shimron Hetmyer who was slightly unlucky with his lbw call. The right-arm fast bowler then had Evin Lewis caught at mid-on before getting Sherfane Rutherford caught behind on a delivery that kept angling away. Afghanistan skipper rightly gave him one more over with West Indies captain Kieron Pollard coming in to bat and Janat sort of sealed the deal by getting him out lbw. He later knocked over Keemo Paul to complete his maiden international five-wicket haul and Afghanistan went onto win the match by 41 runs, and then the third T20I to seal the series 2-1.
Deepak Chahar – 6 for 7 v Bangladesh in Nagpur
Performing a role that was not in sync with his strengths for the better part of his T20 career, Deepak Chahar expressed a desire and the capability to become a successful death bowler. With India weighing their options for the T20 World Cup in 2020, Chahar was earmarked to be the death bowler in the decider of the three match series against Bangladesh. Set a stiff target of 175 on a slightly slower Nagpur surface, Deepak Chahar shook their ship early on with two wickets in one over (third over of the innings).
After a decent counter attack, led by Mohammad Naim, the target was reduced to 69 runs off the last eight overs with eight wickets in hand. With the match slipping away, Rohit turned to Chahar. The inexperience from the visitors showed as Mohammad Mithun tried an expansive shot to gift a dolly to long on off the last ball of Chahar’s over. Chahar had Shaiful Islam caught at long on off the last ball of his third over (18th of the innings). He wrapped up the match in the next two balls of his next over to earn himself a hat trick along with the record T20I bowling figures.