T20 batting nominees

Higher, highest

The two biggest scores in T20 internationals came in 2012. But the year had better stuff to show still

Abhishek Purohit

January 10, 2013

Comments: 38 | Text size: A | A

Click here for the T20 bowling shortlist

Brendon McCullum raises his bat after scoring a century, Bangladesh v New Zealand, World T20 2012, Group D, Pellekele, September 21, 2012
McCullum: gone in 58 balls © Associated Press

Brendon McCullum
123 v Bangladesh

World Twenty20, Pallekele
McCullum broke a few T20 international records in New Zealand's opening game of the World Twenty20. He made the highest score in T20Is, going past Richard Levi's 117 from earlier in the year, and became the first batsman to score two hundreds in the format. He also showed how to change gears in a 20-over innings without wasting too many deliveries. His knock is the prototype all modern-day coaches would want their batsmen to strive for, but some of the shots he played during it can hardly be imitated. He was the firestarter, anchor and finisher of the innings.

Marlon Samuels
78 v Sri Lanka
World Twenty20 final, Colombo
Samuels produced one of the finest international T20 innings ever seen, and he did so when West Indies were down and the count had reached about eight. A reader wrote in to ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball commentators, asking if Samuels' knock was the 281 of T20 cricket. Lasith Malinga, one of the best bowlers in the format, finished with figures of 0 for 54 (18 of those came off three of the finer sixes you could hope to see). West Indies had been 14 for 2 after the Powerplay and 32 for 2 after ten overs, but so breathtaking was Samuels' assault, never mind the wickets falling around him, that Sri Lanka were too stunned to respond.

Martin Guptill
101 not out v South Africa
second T20, East London
Two days after missing New Zealand's 86-all-out nightmare in Durban, Guptill came out a fiercely determined man in East London. Nothing could stop him. He had the power, he had the timing, he had the focus, and he clubbed six after six. He needed to find the boundary off the last ball of the game to take his side to victory, and he did, swatting Rory Kleinveldt to the cover rope and moving from 97 to 101, becoming only the second man after Richard Levi to make a hundred while chasing in a T20I.

Chris Gayle
75 not out v Australia
World Twenty20 semi-final, Colombo
Gayle was starved of the strike early in the World Twenty20 semi-final and later battled an apparent muscle strain, but in between he produced an innings of controlled aggression, Gayle style. He was off strike for inordinate amounts of time, as Australia's bowlers and fielders did their best to keep him away from the batting crease - by the time ten overs had been bowled, Gayle had faced only 18 deliveries. Australia eventually limited him to 41 balls, but those were enough for him to make a decisive impact.

Shane Watson
72 v India
World Twenty20, Colombo
Watson had hardly given any of his team-mates a chance in the World Twenty20, and he didn't in Australia's first Super Eights match either, where he was the standout performer again. India's attack was monstered for seven huge sixes by Watson as Australia got to 133 without loss. It didn't matter who bowled and where, he cleared the boundary straight down the ground, over midwicket and over square leg, his massive reach overpowering all comers.

Richard Levi cuts during his century, New Zealand v South Africa, 2nd Twenty20 international, Hamilton, February 19, 2012
Richard Levi: six maniac © Getty Images

Imran Nazir
72 v Bangladesh
World Twenty20, Pallekele
Rare are the days when Nazir clicks, but when he does, it is quite a sight. In Pakistan's final game in the toughest group of the World Twenty20, Nazir smashed through the qualification door by taking them to 178 - Pakistan's highest successful chase. They needed only 140 to qualify, but with Nazir opening the innings, the debate about whether to begin conservatively and reassess later was a waste of breath. Better to just hammer the ball to all parts. "In one way this is my best innings, because I used my brains," he said later.

Richard Levi
117 not out v New Zealand
second T20I, Hamilton
A combination of a flat pitch and especially small boundaries at Seddon Park provided the ideal opportunity for a powerful batsman to break a record. And Levi, playing only his second international match, took it. He hit the most sixes in a T20I innings, 13, on his way to the fastest hundred in the format, off 45 balls, and made New Zealand's 173 look at least 50 short of a par score. So brutal was Levi that South Africa cruised to the target with four overs to spare.

Yuvraj Singh
72 v Pakistan
second T20I, Ahmedabad
As the end of 2012 approached, life was back to normal for Yuvraj. He recovered from cancer, was dropped from the Test squad again, and displayed his credentials as a champion limited-overs performer again. He treated a packed house in Motera to an air-show that included seven sixes. Yuvraj was struck a painful blow to the toe by a Mohammad Irfan yorker early in his innings but recovered well and struck the ball cleanly, with a lovely flourish. Even Saeed Ajmal was taken for three consecutive sixes.

Mohammad Hafeez
55 v India
second T20I, Ahmedabad
The only innings in a losing cause to make the shortlist. Hafeez, Pakistan captain and not the fastest of T20 batsmen, was a man possessed during the two-match series against India. He delivered a masterclass in the second game, and his wristwork and effortless clearing of the ropes were sights to behold. Hafeez did not seem to brutalise the ball but to will it into gaps with wonderful touch-play. A flat six over extra cover off Ishant Sharma showed his confidence, before his dismissal brought a narrow loss for Pakistan.

Kevin Pietersen
62 not out v Pakistan
third T20I, Abu Dhabi
After averaging 11.16 against Pakistan in the Tests in the UAE, Pietersen batted right through the England innings in the last T20 match, and underlined his return to form on a pitch where every other batsman struggled. To say that his contribution dwarfed those of his colleagues would be an understatement: the next-highest England score was 17. It was clear early on that it wasn't a 150 pitch, and Pietersen judged he'd best stay until the end than aim too high. He finished the innings with a last-ball six, which ultimately proved the difference.

Click here for the T20 bowling shortlist

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Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by TheRisingTeam on (January 13, 2013, 18:57 GMT)

@Special_Analyser:- That's why nobody will take you seriously my friend. Maybe you should try batting and bowling against these minnows so you will know who the minnow actually is good luck :)

Posted by Warm_Coffee on (January 13, 2013, 15:17 GMT)

@Special: Bias people are sad really, try to score a 10 against amateurs then talk :P

Posted by AzAb12754 on (January 13, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

Bad_Analyser: Sour Grapes? what bothered you? minnows don't beat India, Sri Lanka and West Indies all in the same year :) :P

Posted by ExtremeSpeed on (January 13, 2013, 15:02 GMT)

@Special_Analyser - Ignorance won't get you anywhere mate after that comment invalid :)

Posted by Special_Analyser on (January 13, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

@AzAb12754 I'm sorry but this is the list of BIG TEAMS and not minnows like Bangladesh...

Posted by Rajiv007 on (January 13, 2013, 7:10 GMT)

@ KiwiRocker... how a handful of awards to NZ players so that at least they can score some runs in tests...right now our backyard team can challenge them in tests :)

Posted by nzcricket174 on (January 13, 2013, 5:53 GMT)

Definitely Samuels, followed by Guptill.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (January 13, 2013, 3:24 GMT)

samuel deserve it because it was WC final and no other batsman was able to score from other side. It was great great come back by samuels.

Posted by The_Ashes on (January 13, 2013, 2:07 GMT)

In the bowling section, how can you not include Elias Sunny figures of 5/13 which was made on debut away? but include worst figures than that? i.e. 3/16 from Finn or 3/9 also on debut from B.Kumar? ah right!!! now I see no surprises of course.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (January 12, 2013, 23:40 GMT)

Samuels is the obvious choice, but Guptill's 100 was really amazing too

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (January 12, 2013, 23:37 GMT)

Has to be MARLON no other contest that was the greatest T20 innings of all time and will be hard to beat given the position the team were in and the situation World Cup Final !

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (January 12, 2013, 22:51 GMT)

Look, India was dumped out of ICC WC even before semis. India narrowly saved face against Pak in T20 series and then went on to be almost white/brown washed in ODI's. However, we are talking about awards and India. Indian test and ODI teams might be on verge of losing their playing status but we need to give an ward to boast up India just how we did for man of match awards in Pak series so it has to be Yuvraj Singh. We do not care about any other innings, such s Samuels match winning special or Hafeez's breath taking knock! Award has to go to Yuvraj! Sorry, thats how it is.

Posted by Devin48 on (January 12, 2013, 20:17 GMT)

Has to be Marlon Samuels in the world cup final....which makes it extra special. Given the situation as well in which he performed so he deserves it. Great innings!! One of the best in t20s.....

Posted by AzAb12754 on (January 12, 2013, 19:20 GMT)

@Babu01730: I completely forgot about that as well this is pretty unfair to be honest. Cricinfo please can you consider Shakib, Tamim and Sunny vital contributions in T20 last year and somehow recognise them cheers!

Posted by Babu01730 on (January 12, 2013, 18:52 GMT)

Bangladeshi hard hitter Tamim Iqbal should be there. He made a brilliant 88* against West Indies at Mirpur. He should be on the list. This is not fare.

Posted by rustyryan on (January 12, 2013, 18:48 GMT)

Samuels hands down winner. T20 WC final. you team is down and out. And you have to conquer Malinga. Without a doubt, it must be Samuels.

Posted by AzAb12754 on (January 12, 2013, 18:47 GMT)

Very sad to not see Shakib 84 and Elias Sunny 5/13 on debut world record in T20s last year. Don't understand what our Bangladesh players get such a harsh treatment from everyone at least they are trying their best.

Posted by AzAb12754 on (January 12, 2013, 18:39 GMT)

I don't understand why Muhammad Hafeez 55 against India got the nod ahead of Shakib 84 against Pakistan? don't understand the hatred.

Posted by Warm_Coffee on (January 12, 2013, 18:17 GMT)

Where is Shakib's 84 against Pakistan? not surprised though as the article is produced by an Indian. Everyone knows people like Abhishek has biased views towards Bangladesh Cricket but instead of being scared of facing Bangladesh, face them like a man and show who's boss. I'm sure the youngsters of Bangladesh will destroy the youngsters of India in a series or at least win it by whatever margin. Laxman retires, Dravid retires now Sachin our team can probably match you Indian team now common sense.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2013, 17:01 GMT)

Surely Samuels was the best innings of the year!!!given the match situation

Posted by   on (January 12, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

No mention of Paul Stirling's 50 from 17 balls vs Afghanistan in the T20 qualifiers final.He went on to score 79(38), or is this just another elitist list?...

Posted by   on (January 12, 2013, 15:32 GMT)

samuel because it came in the world cup finals he definitley deserves it

Posted by   on (January 12, 2013, 14:41 GMT)

samuels was the innings to watch

Posted by FAB_ALI on (January 12, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

Samuels, of course..... right man at right time.... he wins hands down here.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2013, 13:20 GMT)

I know 55 is not a very big score , But Hafeez played a beautiful Knock of 55 , the shot selection was spot on , probably one of the most elegant 55 I have seen in a T20 Encounter , you don't really refer this word with T20 Innings .So Give it to Hafeez , Think out of the BOX

Posted by   on (January 12, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

...and you reasoning for omitting Paul Stirling from this list? - At the time (March2012) it was the second fastest 50 in international T20 history!!! - has it been overtaken by two or three during the year? Has it been overtaken at all? Oh no sorry - I'm a Cricket Ireland fan- I keep forgetting that Associates playing brilliant cricket doesn't really count because, at the end of the day they are - well - Associates - it's not as if they've ever beaten any of the Full members - surely we would have noticed if they did :/

Posted by indianpunter on (January 12, 2013, 12:33 GMT)

Marlon Samuels, 78 in the WC final. Every other innings here pales into comparison. The stage, the setting, the counter attack. Was privileged to watch it.

Posted by CarnivalOfSorts on (January 12, 2013, 12:07 GMT)

Paul Stirling's 79 from just 38 balls against Afghanistan in the World T20 Qualifier Final was surely one of the best display's of clean hitting this year? Just cos it's Associate who produced it doesn't mean it shouldn't be on this list.

Posted by Mob_King on (January 12, 2013, 11:33 GMT)

Close call between Guptill and Samuels .... both situations were pressure-cooker tight, both bowling attacks top quality.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2013, 9:24 GMT)

Shakib Al hasanera name should

Posted by Jimmyrob83 on (January 12, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

Can Kevin Pietersen NOT make one of these lists. Most overrated player of his generation.

Posted by   on (January 12, 2013, 8:37 GMT)

Marlon Samuels innings was the Great . as it was against , a very dangerous bowling attack , on a bowling wicket and in a pressure situation where his team needed his innings , c classic match winning innings it was .

Posted by   on (January 12, 2013, 7:08 GMT)

Samuels & Gayle the best one

Posted by Jay.Raj on (January 12, 2013, 6:00 GMT)

without a doubt samuels....but he can share it with yuvraj just caz he did it after fighting cancer and it will boost his confidence.

Posted by real26_03 on (January 12, 2013, 5:58 GMT)

Samuels Innings in the World Cup Final is undoubtedly the best..

Posted by   on (January 12, 2013, 5:29 GMT)

undoubtedly samuels innings in wc final is the best..

Posted by   on (January 10, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

samuels innings was the best one

Posted by kirangupta on (January 10, 2013, 16:02 GMT)

Guptill's innings was the best in T20 history let alone this year!

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