World T20: Picking the Best XI for the Team of the Tournament
A fascinating 2014 ICC World Twenty20 came to a close on Sunday, as Sri Lanka finally broke their tournament-final hoodoo to lift the trophy for the first time after defeating India in Dhaka.
Sri Lanka's triumph, which ended a string of four consecutive defeats in finals of global ICC competitions, brought an end to a captivating 22-day exhibition of cricket at its most thrilling.
With the competition now finished and the honours decided, we pick our best XI for the team of the tournament.
1. Alex Hales
While his contributions throughout the tournament were sporadic, Alex Hales' stunning 116 against Sri Lanka during the Super 10s' stage of this year's event was unquestionably the finest innings of the tournament.
That it occurred against the eventual champions makes it only more significant.
Mixing brutal hitting with calm rotating of the strike, Hales remarkably steered England to a famous victory in their colossal chase of 190.
The imposing right-hander finished the tournament with 166 runs at a strike rate of 158.09.
2. Hashim Amla
During South Africa's opening matches of this year's World T20, Hashim Amla looked vastly out of his depth in the frenetic pace of the game's shortest format.
After a sluggish 23 against Sri Lanka, the right-hander grafted his way to 41 during his side's tight clash with New Zealand.
At risk of being left out, Amla suddenly struck form, crashing his way to rapid scores of 43 and 56 in his next two innings to become his team's finest top-order performer.
Despite the slow start, the stylish South African finished the tournament with 185 runs at a strike rate of 131.20.
3. Virat Kohli
Simply put, the cricketing world is at Virat Kohli's mercy. At just 25 years of age, it feels as though the precocious right-hander has already achieved everything the game has to offer.
And he still has a decade or more remaining in his career.
At this year's World T20, Kohli was nothing short of outstanding, crashing his way to a tournament-high 319 runs at a staggering average of 106.33.
His four 50s from just six innings are out of sight for the rest, made more impressive by the fact he wasn't dismissed for anything lower than 23.
His sublime and unbeaten 72 to steer his team home against South Africa was undoubtedly the highlight.
4. Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell's teammates endured a rough time in Bangladesh, but the breathtaking 25-year-old was phenomenal in defeat.
Against Pakistan, the right-hander savagely clubbed his way to 74 from just 33 deliveries to deliver one of the most compelling displays of hitting ever witnessed on the international T20 stage.
Maxwell followed up that performance with equally rapid scores of 45 and 23 against the West Indies and India to finish the tournament with 147 runs at a staggering strike rate of 210.00.
5. AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers is perhaps the only cricketer on the planet capable of rivalling Kohli as the game's preeminent player.
In this year's World T20, the South African dynamo again typified his worth, both with the bat and in the field, seemingly involved in every aspect of his side's run to the semi-finals.
Although de Villiers wasn't prolific, his unbeaten 69 from an almost unfathomable 28 balls faced against England was among the most memorable innings of the tournament.
The South African also scrapes into this side ahead of other middle-order candidates such as JP Duminy due to his wicket-keeping ability that would be needed in this XI.
6. Dwayne Bravo
It's quite an achievement for Dwayne Bravo to make it into the best XI of the tournament after starting the competition with consecutive first-ball ducks.
However, from that point on, the West Indian was remarkable with the bat, clubbing his way to 103 runs across his final three innings at a strike rate of 174.57.
Alongside his captain, Bravo annihilated Australia's ill-suited attack to power the West Indies to a thrilling victory, before hauling his side out of a hole with a thunderous 46 from just 26 deliveries to power his side to another triumph over Pakistan.
Despite the West Indies succumbing to Sri Lanka in the semi-finals, Bravo was again superb in reaching 30 from 19 balls as his teammates wilted around him.
7. Darren Sammy
Like Bravo, Darren Sammy was extraordinary in his role as the West Indies' finisher, thumping his way to 101 runs in the tournament at an outrageous strike rate of 224.44.
No innings from the West Indian captain was more significant than his stunning and unbeaten 34 from just 13 deliveries to propel his side to a remarkable win over Australia.
Sammy was at it again in his side's knockout encounter against Pakistan, thrashing 42 not out from just 20 balls to push his team into a position of dominance alongside Bravo.
The West Indian captain is now the dominant finisher in the world of T20 cricket.
8. Ravichandran Ashwin
Spin was always going to play a dominant role at this year's World T20 on the subcontinent.
For India, Ravichandran Ashwin was superb, claiming 11 wickets in six matches at an economy rate of just 5.35.
After stifling Pakistan and the West Indies in India's opening matches, Ashwin destroyed Bangladesh, Australia and South Africa in consecutive matches to become MS Dhoni's leading weapon with the ball.
The off-spinner's "carrom ball" to dismiss Hashim Amla will also be remembered as one of the finest wickets ever taken in the T20 arena.
9. Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine's qualities were well-recognised before he arrived in Bangladesh for this year's World T20.
Now, however, it seems the West Indian spinner is close to unplayable in the bubbling cauldron of the game's most rapid format.
Despite taking just six wickets in five matches, Narine's tournament economy rate of 4.60 almost defies belief in the current age of colossal hitting.
In fact, the right-armer didn't concede more than 20 runs in any innings, as not a single team in the tournament could decipher a method to score at more than five runs per over against the mystery spinner.
10. Rangana Herath
He only played three matches, but it's impossible to leave him out of this team.
Indeed, Rangana Herath was single-handedly responsible for keeping Sri Lanka in the tournament when he captured an incredible five New Zealand wickets for just three runs in a do-or-die clash with the Kiwis.
After his clinic in left-arm orthodox bowling, Herath completed two stifling performances against the West Indies and then India to help power his team to their first global tournament triumph since 1996.
And like Narine, Herath finished with a tournament economy rate of just 4.60.
11. Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga only claimed five wickets in this World T20, but he was undoubtedly the standout seam bowler of the competition.
With his unplayable reverse-swinging yorkers, the Sri Lankan became an unrivalled weapon for his side, finishing with an economy rate of only 6.11 across his six matches.
Against the West Indies in his team's semi-final, Malinga dismantled the Caribbean side's top order with a sublime 2/5 spell that destroyed all hope for Darren Sammy's men.
In the tournament's final, Malinga was again brilliant, conceding just 27 runs from his four overs to bring India to a grinding halt in their subpar innings.
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