After two weeks of some genuinely thrilling games, incredible performances and a thoroughly satisfying result, I thought I'd have a go at a team of the tournament:
The inclusion of Jayawardene (302 runs @ 60) requires no justification, he carried a mediocre team to the semi finals but no man is an island and there was only so much he could do. Kieswetter (222 @ 31) might be more controversial though, as his strike rate was an almost pedestrian 116. However two things persuaded me that he was a better pick than Salman Butt, firstly he can keep wicket, so that frees up a slot lower down, and secondly in the final he proved himself a man for the big occasion.
That is some engine room. The value of KP (248 @ 62) to England, while not quite on the level of Mahela's to Sri Lanka, is immense. He loves big games, and he was quite sublime throughout this tournament. Suresh Raina (219 @ 44), while still incapable of playing the short ball, is a special talent and hits it as hard as anyone. Morgan (183 @ 36) is such an intelligent cricketer, he is able to revive an innings or keep the momentum going. Hitting the ball in areas so many other can't, he'd make it into any side in the world right now. Mike Hussey's (188 @ 94) knock of 60 off 26 balls in the semi final was one of the best Twenty20 innings I've seen and at times he single handedly dragged Australia to competitive totals. His strike rate of 175 was comfortably better than any other.
The choice between Bresnan, Cameron White and Steve Smith was a tough one, but England with their five proper bowlers prevailing over Australia in the final persuaded me that Bresnan's (3 wickets @ 52, econ rate 7) more reliable bowling would win him the slot. The fact that he's not the best batsman in the world is off-set by the firepower up the order. Swann (10 wkts @ 14, ER 6.5) barely bowled a bad ball through the whole tournament and offers a genuine wicket-taking threat without going for loads of runs. Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait bowled rapidly and aggressively in every game, but I can't overlook Saeed Ajmal (11 wkts @ 15, ER 7.5). But for that final over in the semi-final where the freakish Hussey took him for 17 in 5 balls, his figures would've been even more impressive. He also possesses one of the best doosras in T20 cricket. Nannes (14 wkts @ 13, ER 7) ended the tournament top of the wicket-taking charts and was 90mph+ on a regular basis, nice to see a Dutchman included too. I was incredulous at the selection of Sidebottom (10 wkts @ 16, ER 7.4) in the squad, never mind when he was picked ahead of Anderson for the first game. However I will be chowing down on some humble pie later because Sidebottom was really impressive, reliable, accurate and aggressive from first to last.
Players like Langeveldt (11 wkts @ 9), Nathan McCullum (7 wkts @ 17) and Kamran Akmal (180 runs @ 30) probably deserve a mention, for performing above expectations apart from everything else - so there is their mention. I think the side above accurately reflects the players who contributed most to their sides performing well. Perhaps Bresnan doesn't completely deserve to be in theri, maybe Raina didn't do quite enough and there's absolutely no runnings coming from that bottom three, but its the best I could come up with!
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