World T20 2014: Top Run Scorers in Bangladesh
The ICC World Twenty20 has come and gone. Sri Lanka have clinched their first trophy after many, many finals. Yet, oddly, they have just one batsman in the top 10 run scorers. It is something of a blow to the cliche that "the team who scores more runs will win"—or perhaps a reflection that there were few standout stars with the blade for the islanders.
There have been some fine performances throughout the tournament, and while T20 players rarely pile on massive amounts of runs, four batsmen managed to score more than 200 runs in the tournament.
Here is a list of the top 10 run scorers for the tournament.
10. Mahela Jayawardene and Aaron Finch
Total runs: 158
Mahela Jayawardene and Aaron Finch are tied in 10th with 158 runs each. The Sri Lankan averaged 31.60, while Finch had an average of 39.50. Jayawardene also played two more games than Finch, with the Aussies being knocked out of the competition in the group stages.
Jayawardene's most impressive effort came in the losing cause against England. He hit 89 off just 51 balls to help Sri Lanka post 189, which England managed to chase down. Finch, meanwhile, scored two fifties, one against Pakistan and one against Bangladesh. Alongside David Warner, he is fast becoming one of the most destructive T20 openers in the world.
9. Alex Hales
Total runs: 166 runs at 55.33 in four games
Alex Hales was one of the bright lights in a very dark campaign for England. And that's not just because of the solar red shirts. Hales scored one of the two centuries of the tournament, which bolstered his run tally quite significantly. His unbeaten hundred against Sri Lanka is what set England up for what, in hindsight, seems a remarkable win against the eventual champions.
The rest of the tournament was so-so for Hales, with his second top score a lowly 38 against South Africa. The hundred was a remarkable effort, against a side which were one of the tournament favourites.
With their arsenal of mystery spin and England's struggles against it, Hales came out tops. He managed to work out Ajantha Mendis early on and scored 31 off two of his overs. The rest of the innings were comprised of good old-fashioned running between the wickets and pressure-relieving boundaries.
8. Anamul Haque
Total runs: 184 at 30.66 in seven games
Anamul Haque might be in the top run scorers, but as hosts, Bangladesh had a poor tournament. Having played a few extra matches, thanks to the group stages first up, Haque was impressive early on, but he faded away later.
Against India, he hit a valiant 44 off 43, and although his efforts weren't enough to help Bangladesh win even a single Super 10 match, he looks like a good prospect. Only 21 years old, Haque is a Bangladeshi talent that should be nurtured and cherished.
7. Hashim Amla
Total runs: 185 at 37.00 in five games
Hashim Amla still makes many uncomfortable when batting in T20. It seems a rather undignified exercise for somebody of his calibre. He did, however, look more at ease the longer he played. Amla even managed to notch up his maiden T20 fifty.
His first half-century came against England, off just 37 balls—but in truth he played a key role for South Africa throughout the tournament. With Quinton de Kock struggling, it was up to Amla to lay the foundation for the Proteas time and time again. He failed to pass 25 just twice and never scored below 20. For somebody not really regarded as a natural T20 player, it was a fine effort.
6. Shakib Al Hasan
Total runs: 186 at 37.20 in seven games
Shakib Al Hasan is Bangladesh's MVP, and although his batting could be more consistent, he did perform against one of the "big" teams. Against Australia, Al Hasan hit 66 off 52 balls to help propel Bangladesh to a reasonable total of 153. It wasn't enough to see them over the line, but it was another reminder of his talent.
He lacked batting consistency in the rest of the tournament, failing against India and the West Indies, scoring one and zero, respectively. Batting higher up the order gives him more chance to hit out, but patience remains a virtue in T20 cricket, and singles are as important as big heaves. Patience might be something Hassan still needs to learn.
5. JP Duminy
Total runs: 187 at 62.33 in five games
JP Duminy had a great tournament, despite being carted around the South African batting order. Against New Zealand and India, he was impressive, but he could have been better in the semi-final. He was clearly one of the players in form, after a solid 86 off 43 early on in the tournament. However, against India, Duminy was sent in too early and stifled by the spin.
South Africa persisted with a strategy of wanting AB de Villiers to come in after 10 overs, and in sticky Dhaka conditions, Duminy struggled to get India's spinners away. That's not entirely his fault—he doesn't decide the batting order.
The stats will read that Duminy had a good tournament, but with a few tweaks, it really could have been so much better.
4. Rohit Sharma
Total runs: 200 at 40.00 in six games
Rohit Sharma had a fairly consistent tournament. Opening the batting and scoring two fifties—albeit against West Indies and Bangladesh—Sharma did what his opening partners couldn't: build a platform. With Shikhar Dhawan out of form and Ajinkya Rahane seemingly out of his depth, Sharma's 20-odd runs helped India set up totals and chases every time.
He registered just one score of below 20—the five he scored against Australia. Sharma has grown a lot as a cricketer, but he still needs to prove himself when the pressure is really on.
3. Stephan Myburgh
Total runs: 224 at 32.00 in seven games
Stephan Myburgh, as well as the Dutch, had a really good tournament. The South African-born player scored three fifties—one of them coming against the Proteas.
Two of his fifties came in the initial group stages, but that doesn't make his efforts against the big guns any less impressive. His 51 off 28 balls against a South African attack featuring Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir was most impressive, and it very nearly saw the Dutch clinch an infamous win.
2. Tom Cooper
Total runs: 231 at 57.75 in seven games
Tom Cooper is another Dutch player who impressed with his middle-order hitting. His efforts were most handy during the initial group stages where an unbeaten 72 against Zimbabwe and a blitzkrieg 45 off 15 against Ireland, helped the Netherlands to progress into the Super 10 stage.
That was as good as it got for Cooper, though, and he came up short in both the game against South Africa and the win against England. He did score a crafty 40 off 23 against New Zealand, though, but nothing will compare to his assault on Ireland. It might not be enough to earn him an IPL contract, but at least it should make the highlight reel of innings to remember.
1. Virat Kohli
Total runs: 319 at 106.33 in six games
What more can be written about Virat Kohli that has not been written already? He's quite simply the best limited-overs batsman in the world at the moment. He scored four fifties and didn't post a single total of under 20.
Kohli's ability to read the game and adjust his plan accordingly, without being too flashy, puts him miles ahead of anyone else in the format. His understanding of the importance of singles in T20s is equally impressive. His effort in the final was somewhat stifled, but it's hard—if not somewhat rude—to criticise a man who scored two 70s on the trot.
His unbeaten 72 against South Africa was probably the best T20 innings of the tournament. There were just three dot balls in his entire innings, and rotating the strike was paramount to keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Kohli is starting to write the manifesto for how limited overs should be played.
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