Top 10 Greatest T20 Players In History
T20 internationals (T20i) have not been around that long, but there have been some great players to emerge in the shortest form of the game already. It is a format that has taken the sport by storm and drawn a new generation of fans into cricket grounds across the world. These men have quickly become the heroes of those fans for their incredible achievements on the pitch. Here are the 10 best T20i players ever.
10. Aaron Finch
The Australian made the highest ever score in a T20i when he smashed 156 against England in August 2013. This was only two balls short of the fastest century in history and set the record for most sixes in an innings (14). In a separate innings Finch equalled the record for most fours in an innings (14) when the Aussies played India in October 2013.
Finch holds the second highest career average in history at close to 39 which takes him into the fine company on this list.
9. AB De Villiers
This is a man whose stats do not actually add up to how great a player he is in the shortest form of the game. The South African has not hit a T20i century, he averages just 25 and he hasn’t cracked the top 10 in terms of runs scored in the format. However, his skills, range of shots and leadership mean that he would be in any World XI that anyone would have picked since he first played a T20i in 2006.
He is also second on the list of outfield catches made in T20i, which is an incredible feat for a man who has spent a lot of time wicketkeeping.
8. Umar Gul
The Pakistani paceman is the third highest wicket taker in T20i history with 85 to his name at an average of just 16.97 and with a best of 5/6. Gul is an incredible exponent of swing bowling at serious pace and is even handy with the bat, with a high score in this format of 32.
The opening bowler has been up and down but his stats do not lie and at his best was as good as any quick in T20i.
7. Shakhib Al Hasan
Only two men have got over 1,000 runs and 60 wickets in T20i and Shakhib Al Hasan is one of those men. The Bangladeshi legend is a force in all three forms of the game and has shone in the shortest form since 2006.
He is the fifth highest wicket taker in the format and has scored more runs than specialist batsmen such as Kevin Pietersen, Hashim Amla and Kane Williamson. He could get on this list just for his return of 70 wickets, but with the batting skill added to the mix, he is guaranteed a spot.
6. Ajantha Mendis
In some ways Mendis is a surprise to be this high up the list, but also has an argument to be even nearer the top. The Sri Lankan is the sixth highest T20i wicket taker in history, but he has managed this in just 39 matches, leaving him with an average of just 14.42. His strike rate of 13.4 is the third highest in history.
Mendis also holds the two best bowling figures in T20i history – 6/12 against Zimbabwe and 6/16 against Australia. It was a surprisingly short career for Mendis, but still an incredibly successful one.
5. Lasith Malinga
The ‘Slinger’ was dangerous in all forms of cricket, but he produced his absolute best results in T20i and his 90 wickets have only been bettered by one man (a man that has played 30 more matches than him). Malinga is also one of only five men to have a hat-trick to his name in T20i which adds to his magical CV.
Deadly opening up and at the death, Malinga was a nightmare for batsmen for a decade and winning countless games for his country.
4. Chris Gayle
In many people’s eyes Chris Gayle is the epitome of T20i, smashing huge sixes out of the ground in stunning displays of power and skill. The West Indian opener has never been a guaranteed success, which is why he is not right at the top of the run-scorers chart.
However, he is one of only two to hit two centuries in T20i and has hit more sixes than anyone else. When Gayle gets going, he is almost impossible to stop.
3. Virat Kohli
By the end of his career it is very possible that Virat Kohli will be at the top of his list, because at 28-years-old he has already achieved an incredible amount. Kohli averages over 53 in T20i, which is the most of any batsman by an awful long way. He is third on the run-scorers list and has done so in just 50 matches.
At this stage it seems unthinkable that Kohli won’t just be the leading run-scorer ever in T20i, but beat the previous record by a huge amount. He takes the odd wicket and a lot of catches, but it is his batting alone that earns him his spot at number three.
2. Brendon McCullum
Kohli will almost certainly become the greatest batsman in T20i history, but until he does, that mantle will be held by Brendon McCullum. The Kiwi hero is currently the highest run scorer in T20i and the first man to make 2,000 runs in the format.
He is the other man, after Gayle, to make two centuries in T20i and finished his career with an average of over 35. McCullum was also an excellent wicketkeeper and captain during his time with New Zealand which made him a world-leader in the sport for so many years.
1. Shahid Afridi
A good T20i team is often all about the all-rounders and Shahid Afridi is the best all-rounder in the history of the format. The Pakistani maverick is by no means a pure bowler but he developed a way to be incredibly effective with his unique spin technique.
No one would claim he is the best bowler in history, but he has more wickets than anyone else in this form of the game (97). His economy rate of just 6.61 proved how difficult he was to hit and the number of wickets speaks for itself. With the bat Afridi scored 1,405 runs with an insane strike rate of 150.75, thanks largely to the 73 sixes he smashed over his career.
Sometimes unreliable, but capable of winning any game with bat or ball so has to be top of this list.