Picking An All-Time T20 XI
Picking an all-time T20 XI is like a game of chess. The first few moves are very easy. Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga are almost always the first two moves. Perhaps the best batsman and the best bowler ever in the format.
But, T20 cricket has been played for almost two decades now. There has been a wide range of formats, from domestic leagues to international games. Some of the greatest T20 franchise teams include the Mumbai Indians, the Perth Scorchers and the Titans.
The West Indies have been a revelation in T20 cricket on the international stage. Their attitude and drama has set the world alight.
So, with all that in mind, who makes an all-time T20 XI?
1. Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle is undoutedbly the best ever batsman in T20 Cricket. He has scored over 10000 runs in the format and in his peak demolished bowlers like no batsman had prior to or has since. His consistency, while playing massive innings is mind-boggling.
In 404 T20s, Gayle averages 38.20 at a very impressive strike rate of 146.94. He has dominated T20 competitions worldwide, including the Indian Premier League, the Carribean Premier League and the Big Bash League.
He has swagger in his shots and can hit both spinners and fast bowlers with equal ease. Gayle is particularly strong straight down the ground. Gayle in his peak also bowled pretty well. He has taken 80 T20 wickets with his off-spin bowling at a good economy rate of 7.64.
For the West Indies, Chris Gayle has managed to win two World T20’s in both 2012 and 2016. In the 2016 tournament, he scored a century against England in the group stages.
2. David Warner
It was incredibly tough to leave out Shane Watson from this all-time T20 XI, given the amount that he has won and his bowling ability. But David Warner has just been ridiculously consistent in T20 Cricket.
Warner single-handedly helped the Sunrisers Hyderabad to their first IPL title in 2016. In 17 games he scored 848 runs at a batting average of 61 and at a strike rate of 151. He scored half-centuries in both the semi-final and the final.
Overall Warner has played 283 T20s and scored 9282 runs for various franchises and for Australia. His batting average 38 and strike rate of 142 sits amongst the top batsmen in T20 Cricket.
3. Virat Kohli
The epitome of consistency, Virat Kohli has redefined how much one should average in T20 Cricket. In the past, players did not take much into their T20 average and were inconsistent in the format.
Kohli has changed all that. Kohli averages 51 in International T20 Cricket and 41 overall in T20 Cricket. These numbers are the highest for any player on this list. His strike rate is solid as well – 138 for India and 134 overall.
His hunger to score big runs makes him one of the best T20 batsman in the world. In the 2016 IPL season, he nearly scored 1000 runs as RCB reached the final of the tournament. His captaincy is aggressive and he likes to use his fast bowlers to intimidate opposition batsmen.
4. AB De Villiers
The modern-day 360 batsman, AB De Villiers has provided entertainment like few others. His ability to hit the ball all-round the ground and in otherwise rare areas has revolutionised T20 batting.
In 311 T20s, AB De Villiers has scored 8708 runs at a batting average of 37 and at a strike rate of 150. Those numbers are virtually the same as Chris Gayle, just proving how good he is and that he deserves to be in an all-time T20 XI.
AB De Villiers is equally effective against spin and pace bowling and on his day no bowler can bowl to him. He has prospered in leagues such as the Indian Premier League, the Mzansi Super League and the Pakistan Super League.
Add in his brilliant fielding and the ability to keep wickets, makes him one of the most attractive packages in T20 Cricket.
He was onsong in the 2016 IPL, scoring 687 runs at a batting average of 53 and at a strike rate of 169. He helped RCB reach the final of the tournament.
The most scintillating batsman to watch in our all-time T20 XI.
5. Kieron Pollard
Kieron Pollard has played the most T20 matches in the history of the format. Pollard has played an astounding 514 games for his country and his various franchises. The ultimate T20 player in that sense. Pollard has been one of the ambassadors of T20 Cricket.
Pollard is a hard-hitting batsman, who can adapt his batting to suit the team’s needs. He has the ability to finish off games with the bat but can also play the anchor role if required. In 514 games, Pollard has scored over 10,000 runs with the bat at an average of 31 and a strike rate of 151.
Plus, Pollard has very safe hands in the field and can also bowl. Pollard has taken 288 wickets in T20 Cricket, at a bowling average of 24 and at an economy rate of 8. These are pretty good numbers and on a slow surface can easily bowl 3 or 4 overs for the team.
Pollard has won four IPL’s and a World T20 with the West Indies, combined with all the other tournaments that he has had success in.
6. MS Dhoni (C) (WK)
The finisher. Captain Cool.
MS Dhoni has been and still is a revelation in T20 Cricket. Dhoni has won the Indian Premier League three times with the Chennai Super Kings as captain. He won the first ever World T20 with India as captain in 2007. He has redefined T20 captaincy and the role of the finisher.
His batting and power is just awesome. Dhoni has the ability to finish off tight games and also win games from nowhere at the death. He also has the capability to bat slowly and pace and innings if required. As a finisher, he is amongst the best that has ever played the game.
Dhoni is a smart captain and a patient captain. He believes in his team and creates such an atmosphere that those who play under him thrive more often then not. He has lightning fast reflexes as a wicket keeper and also perhaps the best behind the stumps.
MS Dhoni will undoubtedly captain our all-time best T20 XI.
7. Andre Russell
Dre Russ is perhaps the best all-rounder in the history of T20 Cricket. He bats, he bowls and he fields brilliantly. Russell has won just about every competition in the world in this format, be it with the West Indies at the World T20 or in the Bangladesh Premier League.
Andre Russell has played 331 T20s and scored nearly 6000 runs at a batting average of 27. These are good numbers, without being great. However, his strike rate elevates him to a different level. Andre Russell strikes at nearly 170 in T20 Cricket on average, which is quite stupendous.
“Playing for WI comes first.” says Andre Russell
He also bowls fast and has a mean bouncer when he chooses to use it. Had it not been for his recurring knee injuries, Russell would have had much more impact with the ball. Despite this, he has taken a very healthy 295 wickets in these games. These wickets have come at a bowling average of 26 and at an economy rate of 8.
Like most of the players on this list, his fielding is also exceptional. Perhaps the most complete player in this all-time best T20 XI.
8. Dwyane Bravo
Dwyane Bravo is the highest wicket-taker in T20 history. Bravo has taken 506 wickets. For context, Lasith Malinga is second and he has only taken 390 wickets. Bravo is the greatest bowling all-rounder in T20 Cricket.
His main skill with the ball is the ability to close out tight games. This is a superb skill to possess, since T20 games can be changed in a single over. Bravo has an accurate yorker and a brilliant slower ball that can deceive batsmen. He uses them to great effect to restrict runs and pick up wickets.
A two-time World T20 winner with the West Indies. A two-time IPL winner with the Chennai Super Kings. A winner with pretty much every franchise that he has represented. Dwyane Bravo has been incredibly successful in T20 Cricket.
He also has the ability to hit the ball out of the park with the bat. He has scored 6324 runs in T20 Cricket at a batting average of 24 and at a strike rate of 127. Plus, he is one of the best fielders that has played T20s.
9. Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine slots in at number nine in our all-time T20 XI. In the past few years, he has been able to bat at the top of the order destructively. He has scored over 2000 T20 runs at a batting average of 15 and at a strike rate of 147.
However, his bowling has been and still is by far his stronger suit. In 342 T20’s, Narine has picked up 386 wickets at a bowling average of 20 and a superb economy rate of just 6. He has won the World T20 with the West Indies in 2012 and has also played a major role in two IPL wins with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012 and 2014.
Narine still remains a mystery spinner and is one of the few off-spinners that are still successful in today’s game, despite the prevalence of leg spinners.
10. Imran Tahir
A toss up between Imran Tahir and Rashid Khan. Tahir just about wins due to his experience but Rashid Khan will likely be the second spinner in a T20 XI in the future.
Imran Tahir has an extraordinary T20 record, considering that he started playing a lot of games at a much later stage in his career, rather than starting off as a T20 specialist.
Tahir has amazing energy whenever he bowls and inspires his team when picking up a wicket. His leg spinner is pretty decent, but his slider, top spinner and googly are all top class and make him a potent weapon in the shortest format of the game. He was the highest-wicket taker at the 2019 IPL.
Imran Tahir has played 301 T20s and picked up 380 wickets for South Africa and his various franchise teams. He has a superb bowling average of 20 and an economy rate of just 7.
11. Lasith Malinga
In 295 T20’s Lasith Malinga has picked up 390 wickets at a bowling average of 20 and at a economy of just 7. It would not be far fetched to say that he is perhaps the greatest bowler in the history of T20 Cricket.
His slingy action, alligned with the fact that he had almost the perfect yorker and a smashing slower ball, made his unplayable in his pomp. Malinga can bowl with the new ball and at the death and has defended many totals in the past.
He has enjoyed success with Sri Lanka at the 2014 World T20 and has won the Indian Premier League four times with the Mumbai Indians. He has been successful for many T20 teams and remains one of the best players in the history of the format.
We hope you enjoyed reading our greatest all-time T20 XI.
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