Asia Cup 2014: Team of the Tournament

Chris BradshawFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2014

Asia Cup 2014: Team of the Tournament

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    A.M. Ahad/Associated Press

    Lahiru Thirimanne and Lasith Malinga starred with bat and ball as Sri Lanka crushed Pakistan to win the 2014 Asia Cup on Saturday.

    Their fine performances capped what has been an enjoyable couple of weeks in Bangladesh. Brief it may have been, but there was much to savour with shock results, tense finishes, plenty of big hitting and some quality spin bowling.

    Players from Sri Lanka and Pakistan dominate the Team of the Tournament. Read on to see who has made the cut.

1. Ahmed Shehzad: Pakistan

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    A.M. Ahad/Associated Press
    • 5 matches
    • 228 runs; 45.60 average; 103 highest score; 80 strike rate

    Pakistan's path to the Asia Cup final was built on solid foundations at the top of the order. Unspectacular he may have been but Ahmed Shehzad enabled the bigger hitters to tee off lower down the order.

    It was no coincidence that when Shehzad registered his two lowest scores of the tournament, Pakistan went on to lose both matches.

2. Lahiru Thirimanne: Sri Lanka

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    • 5 matches
    • 279 runs; 55.80 average; 102 highest score; 79.94 strike rate

    Cometh the hour, cometh the Thirimanne. The Sri Lankan was the leading run scorer in the 2014 Asia Cup, the only man to score two centuries and steered his side to victory in the final. Not bad for a converted middle-order batsman.

    Thirimanne was named the Man of the Tournament and thoroughly deserved the accolade.

3. Kumar Sangakkara: Sri Lanka

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    • 5 matches
    • 248 runs; 49.6 average; 103 highest score; 96.49 strike rate

    He may be approaching veteran status but Kumar Sangakkara is still one of the classiest performers in world cricket.

    A duck in the final shouldn't take away from what was a fine Asia Cup for the 36-year-old.

    The Sri Lankan's keeping was as tidy as ever and his century against India and fifties against Pakistan and Afghanistan went a long way to helping his side reach the final.

4. Mushfiqur Rahim: Bangladesh

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    • 4 matches
    • 195 runs; 65 average; 117 highest score; 100.51 strike rate

    In another disastrous tournament for the hosts, one of the few bright spots was the form of Mushfiqur Rahim.

    The Bangladesh skipper scored his second ODI century in the opening match against India at Fatullah and followed it up with an unbeaten 51 against Pakistan.

    An entertaining batsman to watch, Mushfiqur, scored his runs at a great lick, with his half-century against Pakistan off just 33 balls.

    The 25-year-old looks the pick of the Bangladeshi batting line-up and much will rest on him in the forthcoming T20 World Cup.

5. Fawad Alam: Pakistan

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    A.M. Ahad/Associated Press
    • 2 matches
    • 188 runs; 188 average; 114* highest score; 92.15 strike rate
    • 0 wickets; average; 6.0 economy rate; 0-12 Bbl

    Fawad Alam grabbed his chance when it finally arrived. Called up in place of the injured Sharjeel Khan, Fawad's run-a-ball 70 was instrumental in chasing down Bangladesh's mammoth 326 in the group stage.

    The 28-year-old showed his big match temperament by recording his maiden ODI century in the final.

    This Shivnarine Chanderpaul clone may not be the most pleasing batsman on the eye but he certainly knows how to bat.

6. Angelo Mathews: Sri Lanka

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    A.M. Ahad/Associated Press
    • 5 matches
    • 196 runs; 196 average; 74* highest score; 87.11 strike rate
    • 1 wickets; 57 average; 3.71 economy rate; 1-25 Bbl

    Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews can feel highly satisfied with his 2014 Asia Cup.

    The 26-year-old played a match-winning innings when the game was on the line against Bangladesh and also contributed with the bat at crucial times against Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    The skipper's bowling may have lacked penetration but he did offer plenty of control.

    Fittingly, Mathews scored the winning runs in the final.

7. Shahid Afridi: Pakistan

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    • 5 matches
    • 103 runs; 34.33 average; 59 highest score; 168.85 strike rate
    • 3 wickets; 74.66 average; 5.09 economy rate; 2-56 Bbl

    Based on statistics alone, Shahid Afridi doesn't warrant a place in the Asia Cup Team of the Tournament. The mercurial all-rounder was responsible for the most memorable moment of the competition though.

    With ten runs required from the last over against India, Afridi smashed the hapless Ravichandran Ashwin for two sixes to win the game.

    It wasn't quite as dramatic as Javed Miandad's last ball heroics against India in 1986 but wasn't far off.

8. Ravindra Jadeja: India

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    • 4 matches
    • 74 runs; - average; 52* highest score; 97.36 strike rate
    • 7 wickets; 22.57 average; 3.95 economy rate; 4-30 Bbl

    It was a case of what might have been for India. On another day, Virat Kohli's men could have beaten Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Instead they suffered crushing last over defeats to both and exited the competition prematurely.

    One man who cannot be blamed for India's plight is Ravindra Jadeja who performed admirably with both bat and ball.

    Jadeja offered control and took wickets with his slow left-arm spinners and chipped in with useful lower order runs against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

9. Lasith Malinga: Sri Lanka

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    • 4 matches
    • Did not bat
    • 11 wickets; 17.18 average; 5.42 economy rate; Bbl 5-52

    In a tournament dominated by spin bowling, Lasith Malinga stood head and shoulders above his fast-bowling rivals.

    Dangerous at both ends of the innings, Malinga showed once again that there's no better delivery in the one-day game than a fast, straight yorker.

    His three-wicket burst to destroy Pakistan's top order put Sri Lanka in firm control of the final. Two more wickets at the death fully justified his Man of the Match award.

10. Saeed Ajmal: Pakistan

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    • 5 matches
    • 11 runs; 5.50 average; 6 highest score; 183.33 strike rate
    • 11 wickets; 18.36 average; 4.12 economy rate; 3-26 Bbl

    Saeed Ajmal cemented his position as the world's best spinner with a dominating Asia Cup performance.

    With 11 victims to his name, Ajmal ended the competition as the joint-leading wicket-taker alongside Lasith Malinga.

    The 33-year-old was the pick of the bowlers in the final, as his figures of 3-26 from 10 overs attest. Batsmen may know the doosra is coming but many are still clueless as to how to play it.

    Ajmal will play a huge part in Pakistan's upcoming World T20 challenge.

11. Ajantha Mendis: Sri Lanka

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    Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press
    • 3 matches
    • 5 runs; - average; 5* highest score; 250 strike rate
    • 9 wickets; 14 average; 4.84 economy rate; 4-60 Bbl

    Just what does poor old Ajantha Mendis have to do to get picked in a major final? The spinner was dropped for the 2011 World Cup final and he missed out again in the Asia Cup finale.

    His non-selection seemed especially harsh this time out. Mendis took nine wickets in his three tournament appearances prior to the final against Pakistan.

    Maybe he'll have better luck in the World T20.

12th Man. Samiullah Shenwari: Afghanistan

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    A.M. Ahad/Associated Press
    • 4 matches
    • 151 runs; 37.75 average; highest score 81; 83.42 strike rate
    • 3 wickets; 36.33 average; 5.10 economy rate; Bbl 2-34

    Afghanistan marked their Asia Cup debut with an impressive win over Bangladesh. Instrumental in that success was all-rounder Samiullah Shenwari whose 81 got the Afghans within touching distance of victory.

    Shenwari added another half century against India and took wickets with his leggies against Pakistan.

    He'll be one to watch in the World T20.