The T20 format has captured the imagination of the cricket-loving public in the last decade. It is fast, it is exhilarating, and it is a format that has made the audience chew their nails in anticipation and unmatched excitement.
And, due to the popularity of the format, there have been several T20 leagues that have sprung up in different parts of the world as well. The Indian Premier League (IPL), needs absolutely no introduction to the cricketing world. It is the most popular and most reputed league in the world played out in front of jam-packed stands in the Indian sub-continent.
Apart from the IPL, there are several other leagues as well, including the Big Bash League(BBL), the Lankan Premier League(LPL), the Pakistan Super League(PSL), and the Caribbean Premier League(CPL). As the year 2020 ends, let us take a look at the best XI of all the various T20 leagues combined in the year 2020.
1. Marcus Stoinis (Big Bash League)
For the opener’s slot, Marcus Stoinis can easily stake a claim based on his exploits in the Big Bash League this year. The Melbourne Stars’ opener was head and shoulders above the rest in the 2019-2020 season of the Big Bash League and emerged as the leading run-scorer of the tournament.
Stoinis pummeled 705 runs from the 17 innings that he played and averaged close to 55 (54.23) through the tournament. Also, in the 17 innings that he played, the right-hander scored 6 fifties and a hundred and scored his runs at a strike rate of 136.62.
The consistency that he displayed and the power that he can generate when he is on the song makes Stoinis an asset in the shortest format of the game.
2. KL Rahul (Indian Premier League)
KL Rahul is a man who can pick the gaps in the field with ease. Blessed with incredible hand-eye co-ordination, Rahul can take the attack to the opposition at will. And, during the 2020 edition of the IPL, the Kings XI Punjab skipper was at his delightful best.
Rahul emerged as the top scorer in the 13th edition of the IPL and amassed 670 runs. The right-hander averaged 55.83 in the tournament, and also scored 5 fifties and a sparkling century. His strike rate in the 2020 edition was close to 130(129.34).
2020 was a phenomenal year for the Indian willow wielder and Rahul will hope to carry on the good work in the 14th edition of the IPL as well.
3. Babar Azam (Pakistan Super League)
He is the pride of Pakistan. He is often compared to Indian batting Superstar Virat Kohli, and at the age of 25, carries the hopes of his nation on his shoulders. Babar Azam is a man who can mesmerize the viewer with shots of unmatched beauty.
During the 2020 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Babar stamped his authority over the opposition. In the 11 innings that Babar played, he aggregated 473 runs at an average of 59.12. The right-handed batting sensation also scored 5 half-centuries in the tournament.
After generating such stunning numbers in the PSL this year, Babar Azam will occupy the crucial No.3 spot in this side.
4. Ishan Kishan (Indian Premier League)
He is yet to play an international match for his country. But he displayed a mature head on his shoulders when he wore the blue jersey for the Mumbai Indians side in the 2020 edition of the IPL. Ishan Kishan was the highest run-scorer for his side this year and played a key role in the Mumbai outfit lifting the coveted IPL trophy for a record fifth time.
Kishan played 13 innings in the IPL this year and scored 516 runs. He averaged 57.33 during the course of the tournament, and also scored 4 half-centuries as well. But, what makes him a dangerous batsman to bowl to is the fact that his strike rate during the 13th IPL edition was in excess of 145(145.76).
With an ability to clear any fence and an ability to shift gears seamlessly, Kishan would be an ideal fit for the No.4 spot in this side.
5. Kieron Pollard (Indian Premier League)
He is a veteran and a legend of the T20 format. He is big, yet he can defy gravity and pluck insane catches out of thin air. He can strike the ball with a power that can leave the bowler bewildered and can take the game away from the opposition in a trice.
Kieron Pollard enjoyed a highly fruitful year with the willow in the 2020 IPL edition for five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians. The big all-rounder scored 268 runs in the 2020 season of the IPL and averaged 53.60. His runs were scored at a strike rate in excess of 190(191.43), underlining the fact that he can give the necessary impetus needed at the end of the innings.
Pollard can also roll his arm over if the need arises and provide crucial breakthroughs as well. He will occupy the No.5 spot.
6. Wanindu Hasaranga (Lanka Premier League)
He won the Player of the Tournament award in the 2020 edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL). And needless to say, he carved a niche for himself with the ball in hand, flummoxing several batsmen he bowled to.
Wanindu Hasaranga emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the Lankan Premier League this year. Hasaranga took 17 wickets in the 10 games that he played for the Jaffna Stallions. Also, his economy rate was just 5.18, and he averaged a stunning 11.29 with the ball in hand.
With the bat too, Hasaranga can be useful down the order. In the 2020 edition of the Lanka Premier League, he averaged 21.16 with the bat. But more crucially, he scored his runs at a strike rate of over 160(160.75).
7. Rashid Khan (Indian Premier League and Caribbean Premier League)
This man is an automatic choice in the playing XI. Rashid Khan can choke the batsman with his stump-to-stump line, and he can provide vital breakthroughs for his side when the need arises.
The 22-year-old was the lynchpin of the Sun Risers Hyderabad side in the 13th edition of the IPL. The leg-spinner took 20 wickets for the ‘Orange Army’ in IPL 2020, and he took his scalps at an average of 17.20. His economy rate too, was just 5.37 runs per over and he was a key factor behind the Sun Risers side finishing third in the points table.
In the Caribbean Premier League this year, the Afghan spinner took 11 wickets at an economy rate of 6.85 runs per over. He was the highest wicket-taker for the Barbados Tridents.
Rashid will look to continue his incredible performances in the coming year as well. And, if he can do that, then the batsmen from the other teams surely have a cause for concern.
8. Kagiso Rabada (Indian Premier League)
He is another man who will walk into our combined T20 XI for the year 2020. Kagiso Rabada emerged as the highest wicket-taker in the 13th edition of the highly competitive Indian Premier League(IPL). The South African pacer took 30 wickets with the ball for the Delhi Capitals side.
Rabada’s strike rate in the 2020 IPL season was just 13.13, which again underlined his ability to pick up wickets at regular intervals. Also, along with Anrich Nortje, Rabada made several batsmen uncomfortable with his searing pace in the UAE.
At the age of 25, Rabada has already become indispensable to any side he plays in the shortest form of the game.
9. Imran Tahir (Pakistan Super League and Caribbean Premier League)
He is over 40 years old, but still retains an infectious enthusiasm every time he gets the ball in hand. And on a lighter note, few can match Imran Tahir’s speed every time he sets off on a run after picking up a wicket.
Tahir rose to the occasion and delivered some solid performances with the ball in both the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) as well as the Pakistan Super League (PSL). In the CPL, the leggie was the third-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. Tahir took 15 wickets in the CPL, and his economy rate too was just 5.83.
In the PSL too, he was a key member of the Multan Sultans’ bowling attack. The South African scalped 11 wickets in the PSL, at an average of 21.63.
10. Trent Boult (Indian Premier League)
Upfront with the new ball, Trent Boult can be lethal. In the recently concluded edition of the IPL, Boult was in his element. The left-arm-pacer scalped 25 wickets and formed a dreaded bowling pair alongside Jasprit Bumrah.
The Kiwi bowler took his wickets at an average of 18.28, and an excellent strike rate of just 13.76. Considering his exploits with the ball in the 2020 edition, opposition batsmen will be wary of Boult, as he can rip through any batting line up on his day.
Boult is only 31 and has a lot of cricket left in him. And, if he can repeat his exploits in the next edition as well, then the Mumbai Indians will happily fancy their chances of winning the title once again.
11. Shaheen Shah Afridi (Pakistan Super League)
Another left-arm-pacer who impressed in 2020 is Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi. Turning out for the Lahore Qalanders in the 2020 edition of the Pakistan Super League(PSL), Afridi emerged as the highest wicket-taker in the PSL this year.
Shaheen scalped 17 wickets in the PSL, and did so at an average of 19.52. His economy rate too, was acceptable, at a shade over 7 (7.11) runs per over. Shaheen can hit the deck hard, get an extra bounce off the surface, and can also be used at the fag end of the innings as well.
At the age of 20, Shaheen is a promising bowler. The Pakistan side as well as the Lahore Qalandars will be hoping that he can deliver on the promise and emerge as a match-winner.