World T20: Picking the Worst XI of the 2014 Tournament's Group Stages
It has been a fascinating and compelling ride through the concluded group stages of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20.
Across two-and-a-half breathtaking weeks, we've witnessed some enthralling encounters between both the heavyweights of world cricket and the emerging Associate nations.
However, like all global tournaments, there have been some forgettable performances from a collection of players at this year's event.
Here, we run through the most disappointing XI of the World T20 in Bangladesh.
Explanation of Selections
Instead of merely selecting a collection of the world's lesser lights for this forgettable XI, we wanted to identify a group of individuals who have vastly under-performed at this year's World T20.
Of course, the following men are not among the least talented players on show in Bangladesh. However, for one reason or another, these players have performed well below what they're capable of.
Consequently, you won't find members of the Associate nations here.
Instead, you'll find the big names who failed to fire a shot.
1. Martin Guptill
Key Stat: 47 runs at a strike rate of only 81.03
Martin Guptill has been one of New Zealand's standout performers in the T20 arena, but the right-hander endured a torrid time at this year's global tournament in Bangladesh.
Indeed, early momentum is critical in the World T20 and reversing poor form is mightily difficult.
Guptill's performances were the perfect example of that, as the 27-year-old followed three sluggish starts against England, South Africa and the Netherlands with a dreadful run-out in New Zealand's capitulation to Sri Lanka.
2. Tamim Iqbal
Key Stat: 83 runs at a strike rate of only 85.56
Bangladesh's chances of upsetting the major teams at this year's World T20 were slim before the tournament began. But if the home nation were going to cause a stir of any sort, they desperately needed the side's most talented players to be at their very best.
Unfortunately, Bangladesh's precocious opener Tamim Iqbal suffered an extremely difficult tournament, scoring just 83 runs from seven innings at a strike rate well below the mark expected in this format.
Despite Tamim being among the nation's favourites, the left-hander could find himself on the outer of the country's T20 side after such a dispiriting campaign.
3. Kumar Sangakkara
Key Stat: 18 runs at an average of 6.00
There is still time for Kumar Sangakkara to turn it around in the World T20, but the veteran's performances so far have been among the worst seen in the competition.
Against South Africa, the stylish left-hander ground his way to 14 from 18 balls—a performance in stark contrast to his usual free-flowing brilliance.
Sangakkara then went on to register a first-ball duck against England, before completing an ugly 11-ball display that yielded just four runs in the final group match against New Zealand.
4. Mohammad Hafeez
Key Stat: 55 runs at a strike rate of only 72.36
Mohammad Hafeez arrived at this tournament needing to be the glue of his side's volatile batting line-up. With explosive but enigmatic batsmen around him, the captain needed to embody the sense of calm that his side habitually lacks.
Instead, the skipper descended to a level that saw him become a large component of the problem, failing to pass 19 in four innings and doing so at an extremely slow rate.
Against India in the Super 10s opener, Hafeez succumbed to the frenetic tension that regularly cripples his side, becoming bogged down before throwing his wicket away.
In Pakistan's final group game, the right-hander did much the same, crawling his way to 19 from 32 balls to bring his team's chase to a grinding halt.
5. Shane Watson
Key Stat: 7 runs at an average of 2.33
Shane Watson was totally symbolic of Australia's disappointing campaign at the 2014 World T20.
With formidable power and a thunderous T20 record, Watson was expected to be among the leading players at this year's tournament.
However, the brutal right-hander never got going, succumbing to the high-quality spin that became the handbrake on both him and his team.
A highest score of four tells you all you need to know.
6. George Bailey
Key Stat: 35 runs at a strike rate of only 92.10
Like many of his teammates, George Bailey arrived in Bangladesh expecting to exert a significant influence on the tournament.
Instead, the Australian captain couldn't replicate the form he's shown in the limited-overs arenas over the past 12 months, scoring just 35 runs in four innings and struggling on the slower wickets offered in Bangladesh.
If he is to remain as Australia's T20 captain, he'll need to be able to find a way to lead his side to victory in a greater variety of ways, as there's an all-or-nothing feel to Australia's T20 cricket at present.
7. Marlon Samuels
Key Stat: 68 runs at a strike rate of only 88.31
Like Sangakkara, Marlon Samuels still has the chance to play a decisive hand in Bangladesh.
Yet, until this point, the talented right-hander has been vastly underwhelming for the West Indies, regularly stalling his team's innings during the middle-overs before being bailed out by Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy.
That Samuels has managed to make a start in each innings makes the matter all-the-more curious; his scores of 18, 18, 12 and 20 coming at an arduously slow rate of 88.31.
8. Mitchell Starc
Key Stat: 16.0 overs at an economy rate of 9.12
Mitchell Starc came into this tournament as the owner of a stellar limited-overs record.
With raw speed and an ability to bowl reverse-swinging yorkers, the left-armer was supposed to represent one of Australia's primary weapons.
Sadly for the Australians, Starc didn't go close to hitting his usual excellence, struggling with his control of both line and length as opposing batsmen took advantage of his waywardness.
Undoubtedly Starc's lowest moment came when he conceded 19 runs in the penultimate over against the West Indies to take his team from a position of strength into one of genuine vulnerability.
9. Tim Southee
Key Stat: 8.0 overs at an economy rate of 11.50
Tim Southee has been a critical component of New Zealand's emerging pace attack in recent months. However, at this year's global tournament, the right-armer struggled mightily.
In only two outings, the seamer was thumped for a staggering 92 runs, with both England and South Africa enjoying the pace on the ball offered by Southee.
Those opening performances saw the 25-year-old dropped for his team's final two encounters against the Netherlands and Sri Lanka, both matches that contained improved bowling displays from the Kiwis.
10. Ajantha Mendis
Key Stat: 10.3 overs at an economy rate of 10.28
Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis has been an phenomenon in T20 cricket, but it appears as though the world's best batsmen have finally discovered a method to counter the deceptive tweaker.
Despite claiming 3/12 against the lowly Netherlands, Mendis was dealt with harshly by South Africa and England, conceding 96 runs in only 48 balls across both matches.
Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan were particularly severe on the right-armer, which saw the prolific spinner dropped for Sri Lanka's knockout encounter against New Zealand on Monday.
11. Jade Dernbach
Key Stat: 9.0 overs at an economy rate of 11.00
England's Jade Dernbach is possibly the most maligned player in the game at present. After a dreadful World T20 campaign, it's not hard to see why.
Across three matches, the wayward right-armer conceded 99 runs at an alarming economy rate, failing to significantly threaten or contain to any extent.
With England needing to reshuffle to unearth a winning combination, Dernbach is unlikely to retain his place in the side after a disappointing but not unexpected showing in Bangladesh.