Cricket

5 standout performers from Round 1 at the ICC T20 World Cup 2021

By Soumik Banerjee

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, which was supposed to be held in India, is already underway at the rescheduled venues in UAE and Oman. 8 teams, who qualified either through world rankings or world qualifiers fought in the first round for a place in the super 12s. In Group A, former T20 World Cup champions Sri Lanka topped the group with three wins, while Namibia qualified after defeating the highest-ranked sides like Ireland and Netherlands. In Group B, Scotland produced a major upset as they got better in Bangladesh and topped the group. Bangladesh picked up the second spot behind the Scottish. We have seen a lot of great individual performances.

Here let’s take a look at 5 best players of Round 1:

Shakib Al Hasan: World No.2 T20I all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan once again carried Bangladesh on the world stage. Shakib, who is regarded as the greatest Bangladeshi cricketer of all time, was once again their crisis man in round 1 of ICC men’s T20 world cup 2021. Although Bangladesh suffered a shocking loss in their first match of edition’s T20 World Cup at the hands of Scotland, Shakib produced a fine bowling performance in the first half and after coming early he tried to hold one end but unfortunately, after his wicket, Bangladesh lost the plot. Shakib delivered a man of the match performance in a do or die match against Oman. Once again he had to come early when his team was under sheer pressure. He then played the role of an aggressor and stitched a very crucial 80 runs partnership with Mohammad Naim. Shakib struck 44 (29) at a strike rate of 144.83 which laid the platform for Bangladesh to get a decent score in a pressure match. Later he removed the dangerous looking Jatinder Singh. Shakib took another couple of wickets and helped Bangladesh to get the victory. In their final match of round 1, Shakib delivered yet another man of the match performance. After coming at no.3, he scored 46 (37) and helped Bangladesh to post a big total. He then dismantled the Papua New Guinea team with his bowling performance (4-0-9-4).

David Wiese: David Wiese was the protagonist of the Namibian Cricket team’s greatest moment. Former proteas international was the key figure in Namibia’s great fight back, as they came back from a crushing defeat against Sri Lanka to find themselves in the Super 12. In their second match against the Netherlands, while chasing 166, Namibia was struggling. Wiese who came at 5 played brilliant innings of 66*(40) to give Namibia their first victory in the competition. The 36-year-old was adjudged as the man of the match for his match-winning knock. The Veteran showed his bowling skills in the next match. Wiese, who is known for his variations was used equally at the powerplay and the death. He took a couple of wickets and forced a run out which resulted in Ireland getting reduced to 125. Later he played yet another quickfire innings to propel Namibia in the Super 12. For his all-around performance against the Irish team, he was once again adjudged the man of the match.

Josh Davey: Scotland produced a major upset on the first day of World T20 2021 as they defeated Bangladesh and also later topped Group B. Josh Davey who is the joint second-highest wicket-taker (8) in the tournament with Shakib Al Hasan has portrayed the crucial role in Scotland’s glory. In the first match against Bangladesh, defending only 140, Davey gave Scotland an early breakthrough. Davey then produced a match-winning spell (3.3-0-18-4) against Papua New Guinea, for which he was given man of the match. He took two wickets within the powerplay. Later he came in the death overs and removed the dangerous looking Norman Vanua. In the next match against Oman, he again put up a man of the match performance (4-0-25-3) and reduced Oman to a below-par 122.

Maheesh Theekshana: Throughout the years, Sri Lanka has been blessed with mystery spinners and Maheesh Theekshana is now the newest addition to the list. The 21-year-old is the joint 2nd highest wicket-taker of round 1. His brilliant performance in all three matches helped the Lankans dismantle their opponents. Theeksana took 3 wickets in the first match helped the Lankans to bundle out Namibia for a mere 96 runs. For his brilliant spell, he was adjudged man of the match. He followed his brilliant outing with yet another fine spell against the Irish team. Theekshana once again grabbed 3 wickets as the Irish team got bundled out for 101. In their final match against the Netherlands, he bowled only 1 over while taking 2 wickets.

Wanidu Hasaranga: World No.2 T20I bowler Wanidu Hasaranga once again showed his class after propelling his team in the super 12s. He took 2 wickets in the first match against Namibia. Hasaranga showed his batting prowess in the match. In a pressure match against the Irish team, Sri Lanka was reduced to 8-3. Hasaranga’s phenomenal counter-attacking knock of 71 (47) helped the Lankans to post a big target. Later in the second half, he also bowled a very economical spell (4-0-12-1) and was the protagonist of their victory. Hasaranga was adjudged as the man of the match for his all-round performance. In the final match, the leggie picked up 3 wickets as the Dutch team got all out for only 44.

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