Jos Buttler (c and wk)
225 runs @ 45.00 and SR 144.23; 9 catches
By captaining his country to their second T20 World Cup title, Jos Buttler has, in all likelihood, sealed his legacy as England’s greatest ever white-ball cricketer, and unsurprisingly he skippers our team of the tournament. But that he’s in our best XI is not because of his captaincy; Buttler was genuinely incredible with the bat.
He misfired against Afghanistan and Ireland, but had an outrageous stretch to round the World Cup off, leading from the front with scores of 73, 28, 80* and 26.
His versatility stood out in the aforementioned stretch as he played the match situation to perfection, and his batsmanship was directly responsible for England going on to lift the title.
Additionally, Buttler was also flawless with the gloves. He had a catch efficiency of 100% (9/9) and put forward two contenders for catch of the tournament (Conway’s catch vs NZ and Nabi’s catch vs AFG).
212 runs @ 42.40 and SR 147.22
Like Buttler, Hales hit his stride only after a couple of sighters, but boy he proved to be unstoppable once he got going. His 86* against India in the semis will go down as one of the great World Cup knocks, but to reduce Hales’ contribution in this T20WC to that one knock would be a grave injustice.
For in a tournament dominated by the new ball, Hales turned out to be, by some distance, the best batter in the powerplay, smashing 135 runs at an average of 67.5 and SR of 158.8. To put these numbers into perspective, no other batter who managed 100 or more runs in the powerplay either struck at 140 or averaged over 40. Hales did both.
He rightly has the best impact score for any opener according to our model, with a total impact score of 29.59.
296 runs @ 98.66 and SR 136.40
Yet another T20 World Cup ended in heartbreak for Virat Kohli, but across the six innings he batted, Kohli reaffirmed his position as the competition’s greatest ever batter. Along with Suryakumar Yadav, he carried the Indian batting, smashing four fifties in six innings.
This World Cup also witnessed Kohli play his greatest ever T20I knock as he single-handedly pulled off a heist against arch-rivals Pakistan in front of 90,000 people at the MCG. Kohli was, in fact, so good that he ended up registering a higher impact score (34.54) than both Buttler and Hales.
239 runs @ 59.75 and SR 189.68
That ridiculous strike rate should tell you everything you need to know. In a tournament largely dominated by ball, Suryakumar made a mockery of the bowlers and conditions to further establish himself as the best middle-order T20 batter in the world.
In a way, Suryakumar was almost solely responsible for India making it to the semis; everytime India batted first they needed SKY to play an otherworldly knock to propel them to a winning score, and on all but one occasion he delivered. ‘Can SKY showcase his class on the biggest of stages?’ was the question heading into this World Cup. He answered it in SOME STYLE!
Unsurprisingly, his impact score of 45.07 is the best among all batters.
201 runs @ 40.20 and SR 158.26
Only one middle-order batter in the entire tournament came close to matching Suryakumar, and that was Glenn Phillips. In an anchor-filled New Zealand line-up, Phillips sang a different tune as he brutalized the bowlers. Phillips was one of two batters in the competition to smash a ton and this World Cup saw the 25-year-old show that he’s the real deal.
His batting itself was a delight, but on top of that, Phillips arguably took the catch of the tournament on the very first day of the Super 12 stage, lighting up the competition with the catch of Marcus Stoinis, where he literally flew.
In our model, Phillips registered the second-best impact among batters with a score of 36.99.
219 runs @ 27.37 and SR 147.97; 10 wickets @ ER 6.50
At the ripe old age of 36, Sikandar Raza is, somehow, turning himself into the best all-rounder in white-ball cricket. Raza’s 82 against Ireland, 3/19 against West Indies and 40 (23) against Scotland helped Zimbabwe qualify for the Super 12s, but he didn’t stop there.
He orchestrated the historic upset (of Zimbabwe beating Pakistan) by producing yet another three-fer with the ball to put his side in semi-final contention. Eventually it did not happen, but Raza, nevertheless, ended his epic World Cup campaign on a high, smashing 40 (24) and 34 (24) against Netherlands and India respectively.
All tournament, no player had as big an impact with both bat and ball as Raza did.
11 wickets @ ER 6.34; 98 runs @ avg 24.50 and SR 168.96
Shadab Khan the bowler has for long now been acknowledged as a world-class campaigner, but this World Cup witnessed Shadab Khan the all-rounder announce himself on the biggest of stages.
No player, according to our model, had a more impactful World Cup than Shadab Khan (72.51) and there’s a reason for that.
In nearly every single encounter Shadab had a flawless outing with the ball in hand: 3/23, 3/22, 2/16, 2/30, 0/33 and 1/20 were his figures across the World Cup as he finished as not just the highest wicket-taking spinner in the Super 12 stages (11), but also one with the second-best economy.
This is incredible enough already, but Shadab also was directly responsible for Pakistan making it to the semis. In the South Africa encounter, when the Men in Green had their backs against the wall, he smashed a 22-ball 52 batting at No.7. The knock was the single biggest turning point in Pakistan’s World Cup campaign.
13 wickets @ avg 11.38 and ER 6.52
Take a good look at that economy rate. Done? Good. Now believe this: Curran went at just over 6.52 despite bowling 47.05% of his overs at the death. And oh, not just that, he finished the tournament as the highest wicket-taker. Not done yet. He also had an ER under 6.7 in each of the three phases.
Remarkable? More like UTTERLY RIDICULOUS! It truly is hard to comprehend what Curran just did for England in this World Cup.
On paper, especially in the absence of Wood and Topley, England’s was a pace attack which looked like it was there for the taking, but Curran single-handedly elevated it into one of the best.
He not only proved to be a cheat code at the death, he also struck telling blows with the new ball when called upon, removing Finn Allen in the do-or-die New Zealand clash, and Mohammad Rizwan in the final.
His impact score of 44.97 is only the fourth-best according to our model, but for what he did, it’s hard to argue against him officially being named Player of the Tournament.
9 wickets @ avg 14.33 and ER 6.45
Mitch Santner’s inclusion might come as a surprise but the left-armer was a model of consistency all through the tournament. Santner did not go wicketless in a single encounter, and he also conceded at an ER under 8.00 in every single match.
In a tournament that proved to be a difficult one for conventional finger spinners, Santner finished with an average of 14.3 and ER of 6.5.
According to our model, he rightly had the best impact score (36.48) among all specialist spinners (barring Shadab).
Shaheen Shah Afridi
11 wickets @ avg 14.09 and ER 6.15
Shaheen Shah Afridi’s World Cup ended in heartbreak, with him walking off injured without bowling his full quota of overs in the final, but despite not even being close to full fitness, the 22-year-old turned out to be one of the best seamers in the tournament.
It took some time for Shaheen to hit his stride, but once he did, he became unplayable. Across the last 4 matches he played, Shaheen took 10 wickets at an average of 7.3 (!!!) and ER of 5.5.
He wrecked Bangladesh and South Africa with combined figures of 7/36, before striking the telling blow in the semis by removing the Kiwis’ trump card, Allen.
He did the same to Hales in the final and kept Pakistan’s hopes alive, but was unfortunately not able to bowl his side to victory owing to injury. For all we know, had Shaheen not sustained that untimely injury, Pakistan could very well have emerged victorious.
Only Shadab had a higher impact rating this World Cup than Shaheen’s 53.95.
Paul van Meekeren
11 wickets @ avg 18.00 and ER 6.38
Rounding off our best XI is an unexpected customer in Paul van Meekeren. Let’s just say that van Meekeren turned out to be a pace-bowling equivalent of Santner.
Despite playing 8 matches, the tall right-armer did not go wicketless in a single encounter, and delivered in every single one. He was outstanding across periods, maintaining an ER under 7.00 in all phases, but was especially a menace in the middle-overs. He not only took the joint-most wickets in the 7-15 phase (5), but also had the second-best economy.
In our impact model, among pacers, only Shaheen, Sam Curran and Anrich Nortje had a higher impact score than van Meekeren’s 34.1.
CDC’s Player of the Tournament
Shadab Khan (impact score 72.51)
CDC’s Team of the World Cup
Jos Buttler (c and wk), Alex Hales, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Glenn Phillips, Sikandar Raza, Shadab Khan, Sam Curran, Mitchell Santner, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Paul van Meekeren