Cricket has not been the same ever since the addition of the T20 format. While the rules of the format are heavily in favor of the batsmen, it eventually is the bowling dimension which provides the team with the decisive edge. Both, the spinners and the pacers, have evolved with time and are now consistently winning T20 matches for their teams. As the year draws to an end, we take a look at 5 best performers with the ball in the shortest format of the game.
Five T20I bowlers who stood out from the rest this year – ranked in order of brilliance.
- Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)
Presently ranked number 1 in the list of T20I bowling rankings by the ICC, Rashid Khan’s jaw-dropping strike rate of 8.1 in 8 matches he played this year gives us an indication of the skill and temperament of the Afghanistan leggie. Rashid has taken 21 wickets this year in only 8 innings, with an economy rate of 6.36. He has two four wicket hauls this year and three occasions on which he took 3 wickets. The Afghanistan bowler has been a mainstay for the national team. His figures are a clear indication as to why he has finished as the top-ranked bowler for 2018.
- Kuldeep Yadav (India)
India’s Kuldeep Yadav is second on the list. Kuldeep, a rare breed of chinaman bowlers in the modern day, has revived the art out of its grave. With 21 wickets from 9 innings, and a five-for to his credit, the youngster has had quite the year. Kuldeep had a sensational tour of Ireland where he finished with seven wickets from two T20 Internationals. Kuldeep is the fifth highest wicket-taker in T20I this year and ends 2018 in Number 3 on the ICC’s T20I bowling rankings
- Shadab Khan (Pakistan)
Unlike the modern limited-overs spinner, Shadab bowls with a more loopy trajectory and uses his wit and guile to fox the batsmen in the air. He uses the crease well bowling from close to the stumps as well as from a wider angle, to make the batsman recalibrate his eye-line. Shadab is not afraid of bowling the wrong’un, perhaps his only criticism might be that he bowls it a bit too often. In addition, he maintains high levels of fitness and is a terrific fielder at point. Shadab has taken 28 wickets this year in only 19 innings, at a stingy economy rate of 6.62. He is also a useful lower-order right-handed batsman, something that has occasionally been witnessed during his domestic career.
- Andrew Tye (Australia)
Andrew Tye pips his fellow Australian international Billy Stanlake as he bagged six more wickets than the latter. The Australian T20 specialist, Andrew Tye is the highest wicket-taker in T20 Internationals this year with 31 wickets in 19 encounters. Tye is one of the most effective bowlers in the shortest format of the sport. The knuckle ball that he delivers has become a rage among limited-overs bowlers these days and there are few who can execute it better than Tye himself. He doesn’t clock a high speed but is still moderately quick and what enables Tye to succeed is his clever pace variations which can baffle the batsmen especially when they are trying to up the ante. He picked a career-best four wickets for 23-runs against New Zealand in Sydney this year as well.
- Billy Stanlake (Australia)
Young Australian fast bowler Billy Stanlake concludes the list at #5. The tallest man to play professional cricket for Australia, Billy Stanlake has taken 25 wickets this year from 16 innings, at a strong economy rate of 7.79, combining his extraordinary release height and bounce with fearsome pace. His best performance this year came against Pakistan, with Stanlake taking 4 wickets from his 4 overs and giving away only 8 runs, which is also the most economical spell by an Australian in T20 international cricket. That bowling performance saw Australia take an easy 9-wicket win, with Stanlake declared Man of the Match for his efforts. The 24-year-old is also the third highest wicket taker this year in T20 Internationals.