Twenty20 nominees: top six February 19, 2010

A subcontinent special

Harsha Bhogle, Ian Chappell and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss the top six contenders in our shortlist of the Twenty20 performances of 2009

Chris Gayle 88 v Australia
World Twenty20, The Oval
Those who were at The Oval on June 6 are unlikely to ever forget Gayle's assault. He ransacked the Australian attack, clobbering 88 off 50 balls, to make short work of the target of 170. He picked out Brett Lee for special treatment, and the two sixes - onto Harleyford Road and the top of the Bedser Stand - in the space of three deliveries were among the most monstrous hits you're likely to see.

Tillakaratne Dilshan 96* v West Indies
World Twenty20 semi-final, The Oval
Dilshan powered Sri Lanka to the final of the World Twenty20, smashing 96 off 57 balls, the tournament's highest score. Despite his opening partner Sanath Jayasuriya struggling to 24 off 37, Dilshan led his team to 73 in 10.3 overs. None of the others made more than 12 and Dilshan was responsible for nearly 61% of Sri Lanka's 158.

Shahid Afridi 51 v South Africa
World Twenty20, Nottingham
Pakistan needed an extraordinary performance to prevent 11 fit, in-form and clinical South Africans from realising their goal of a first major tournament final. And Afridi provided it. His innings was a deadly blend of aggression and maturity, kept a hostile attack at bay, and gave Pakistan 149 to defend. He then took 2 for 16, dismissing Herschelle Gibbs and AB de Villiers, to help secure a final berth by seven runs.

Umar Gul 5 for 6 v New Zealand
World Twenty20, The Oval
New Zealand were already struggling at 72 for 4 after 12 overs when Younis Khan brought a sixth bowler into the attack - Gul. His impact was instantaneous and devastating: Gul dismissed Scott Styris and Peter McGlashan with his third and fourth deliveries, sent Nathan McCullum's leg stump cartwheeling in his next over, and ended with the dismissals of James Franklin and Kyle Mills - again off consecutive balls - in his third. New Zealand were shot out for 99 and Daniel Vettori said he had "never ever seen someone reverse the ball after 12 overs".

Umar Gul 4 for 8 v Australia
Only Twenty20, Dubai
Shane Watson had muscled to 33 off 13 balls when Gul was introduced into the attack. Watson didn't last another delivery; Gul trapped him lbw in the fifth over. That wicket triggered a collapse and Gul was brought back for his second over only in the 15th of the innings, whereupon he proceeded to snuff Australia out. He picked up three more wickets and finished with 4 for 8 to dismiss Australia for 108.

Ajantha Mendis 3 for 20 v Australia
World Twenty20, Nottingham
Australia had never played Mendis before. They had prepared for him, but even the best-laid plans fail. Mendis bowled Ricky Ponting with one that went the other way, halting a promising innings of 25 off 15 balls. He then trapped Shane Watson lbw and breached Michael Hussey's defences. His spell of 3 for 20 helped limit Australia to 159 for 9, a total Sri Lanka overhauled with an over to spare.