Catch Seventy7

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2009 World Cup Twenty20: Team of the Tournament

Predictable, typical, obligatory. Every world tournament worth its salt needs an entirely worthless ‘team of the tournament’. Here’s CatchSeventy7’s entirely subjective verdict on the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup…

Afridi and Akmal were pivotal for Pakistan

Afridi and Akmal were pivotal for Pakistan

Almost as quickly as it began, the World Twenty20 is over. With many standout performances, picking a team of the tournament is not particularly easy, but Catch Seventy7 will give it a go nonetheless. Perhaps unsurprisingly, members of the four semi-final teams dominate proceedings:

 

1. Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka)

Difficult name, cool customer. The Sri Lankan opener has been in sparkling form for his country for the last few months, and has carried that form throughout the majority of the competition.

The tournament’s leader run scorer even before Friday’s semifinal with the West Indies, Dilshan’s impressive 96 not out was the knock that decided the match. An innovative stroke maker to boot, Sri Lanka will no doubt acknowledge the debt they owe to a player who was out of the international fold only a few months ago.

A duck in the final was not what Dilshan wanted, but if anything his failure to score runs as his country lost only emphasised his side’s considerable reliance on him.

 

2. Chris Gayle (c, West Indies)

If there is a cooler customer in the game today, he certainly doesn’t find himself in as many high-profile situations as Chris Gayle. Opening the batting and contributing with the ball for his side, Gayle often seemed to strap his side onto his back and carry them as far as he could.

His 88 against Australia was an awesome display of power-hitting, while his 63 not out in the Sri Lanka semifinal also showed Gayle’s ability to grind out a score in increasingly difficult conditions.

If he’d only had a little more support, the Windies could well have progressed even further in the tournament than their eventual semi final exit. But without Gayle, it is doubtful they would have even got out of the group stages.

 

3. Jacques Kallis (South Africa)

Unsurprisingly given the format, openers prospered throughout the tournament. Opening up for South Africa, Kallis used his experience of all formats of the game to ensure his side’s scoreboard kept ticking over.

While other members of the Proteas’sbatting lineup may have stolen more headlines, it was Kallis who often came up with big runs on a consistent basis.

His fifty against England helped his side to a comfortable victory, and he notched another half-century in the semi final despite having to stare down Pakistan’s Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi.

In all, the South African proved that Twenty20 can be played consummately by even the most experienced of Test match players.

 

4. AB De Villiers (South Africa)

Until their somewhat shock exit at the hands of Pakistan, South Africa were undeniably the class side of the competition, and that was in no small part down to the batting prowess of their No. 4.

De Villiers finished the tournament with 186 runs to his name, at an average of 37.6. But many of those came against the weaker sides of the tournament, and he also fell cheaply (for 5) when his side needed his run-scoring most against Pakistan.

Nevertheless, De Villiers proved himself to be one of the premier strokemakers in any form of the game.

 

5. Shahid Afridi (Pakistan)

An enigma in world cricket for the best part of a decade, Afridi has blown similarly hot and cold throughout this tournament — as, to be fair, have his country. But, like his country, Afridi came good when it really mattered.

He put in a man-of-the-match performance in the semifinal against South Africa, hitting a whirlwind fifty (off 37 balls) that upped the run rate ultimately beyond their opponent’s reach. He then proceeded to put in a performance with the ball that put the result beyond all doubt. At times, he was simply unplayable.

He took that form into the final, bowling solidly and then knocking a consummate fifty—even ending up kicking the winning runs of the tournament.

Who could ask for more?

A mercurial talent, his country would surely wish they could predict on which days Afridi was going to turn up to play. But with or without prior warning, he is a talent that simply cannot be left out.

 

6. Dwayne Bravo (West Indies)

If Gayle was carrying his side for much of the tournament, when he couldn’t or wouldn’t it was invariably Bravo that stepped up to the mark. The all-rounder came in against India in his side’s crucial opening Super 8 match starring down the barrel of defeat, and single-handedly rescued a victory that proved vital in the context of the tournament.

He also chipped in admirably with the ball, grabbing wickets with a consistency that was often invaluable to his side. His economy rate was not the best, but with the runs he scored with the bat, that can easily be forgiven.

 

7. Kamran Akmal (wk, Pakistan)

Every team needs a wicketkeeper, and Akmal was the pick of the crop over the course of the tournament, not just for his work behind the stumps.

Akmal was not necessarily the best pure-wicketkeeper (he took the most stumpings, with seven, but this was more due to the proficiency of the bowling attack) but he certainly was the gloves man that contributed most with the bat. Opening for Pakistan, the youngster notched over 180 runs in the course of the tournament, averaging over 20. Given license to hit out from the start of the innings, Akmal rarely failed—his early work with the bat in the final proving the basis for his side’s victory.

A wicket-keeper who can bat has always been a bonus for any side — in Akmal Pakistan have someone that they know they can rely on across both fronts.

 

8. Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)

‘Malinga the Slinger’ proved what everyone knew before the tournament, that he is one of the finest and most difficult bowlers to face in the modern game. The technique may be unconventional, but the results are impressive.

12 wickets at 7.53 an over is an impressive return in anyone’s book, especially for a Sri Lanka side where the spinners are so good opponents know they have to target any speed that comes their way. But with Malinga’s expert variation of pace and length, opponents often find little to feed off.

Behind Gul, Malinga was the other stand-out fast bowler of the tournament.

Malinga: Explosively unorthodox

Malinga: Explosively unorthodox

9. Umar Gul

Any time an opposing side complains about you to the umpire, suspecting you of ball-tampering, you know you have bowled a pretty spectacular spell. Umar Gul’s 5 for 6 against New Zealand was exactly one such spell.

The fast bowler found reverse swing unlike any other bowler in the tournament, and used it to great effect. The tournament’s top wicket-taker (with 13), he was invariably explosive when captain Younus Khan unleashed him around the 12th over of the opposition innings.

Taking the format’s first ever international five-wicket haul, Gul even managed to keep his economy rate below seven. A strike bowler in every sense of the word.

 

10. Wayne Parnell (South Africa)

Just 19, Parnell is a bowler with the world at his feet. Comparisons with Allan Donald might be unfair and certainly premature, but with more performances like those seen in this tournament they will inevitably soon arrive.

The teenager took 4-13 against the West Indies in the opening match of the Super 8’s, and generally carried himself like a seasoned professional, managing to upstage the more experienced (and still on form) Dale Steyn.

There is clearly still some room for improvement, but Parnell was definitely among the most impressive fast bowlers in the tournament, in one that contained many.

 

11. Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka)

In Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka have always had one of the premier spin bowlers in world cricket. In  Ajatha Mendis, they now clearly have two, and in the short form of the game the apprentice just about had the edge on the master.

Mendis’s action makes his deliveries extremely hard to pick, and batsmen throughout the tournament have consistently failed to answer the questions posed by the youngster.

12 wickets, and an economy rate under a run a ball makes Mendis a shoe-in to the team of the tournament.

 

Reserves:

Kevin Pietersen (England), Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka), Saeed Ajmal (Pakistan), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka), Nathan McCullum (New Zealand).

 

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June 21, 2009 - Posted by | Sport | , ,

2 Comments »

  1. i love watching the world cup on television coz i am a football addict ‘

    Comment by Diabetic Neuropathy : | October 30, 2010 | Reply

  2. in the next world cup, i would try to be so energetic and i would cheer all day for my favorite team ,~~

    Comment by Paving Slabs | November 22, 2010 | Reply


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