T20I batting nominees

Sri Lanka in the house

Three of our T20I batting nominees this year are from one country

Fifty needed off 21? Who you gonna call? Prasanna © Gallo Images/Getty Images

Click here for the T20I bowling shortlist

Seekkuge Prasanna
37 not out v South Africa
third T20I, Cape Town

Niroshan Dickwella had charged to 68, but he fell with Sri Lanka needing 54 off 28 balls. Prasanna walked in at No. 5 with the series on the line. Only twice had he recorded double digits in ten previous T20I innings. Two balls after Prasanna came in, Dhananjaya de Silva was gone. Wayne Parnell had a grip on proceedings. Then, out of nowhere, Prasanna found his hitting range. By the time the 19th over began, Prasanna already had 23 off ten - having brought the target down from a daunting 50 off 21 balls. He launched a savage blow over long-on and a scoop over the keeper in the penultimate over, which went for 15. With 11 needed off the 20th, Asela Gunaratne got Sri Lanka home, fetching them their first silverware of any kind in South Africa.

Asela Gunaratne
84 not out v Australia
second T20I, Geelong

A majority of Australia's first-choice XI were in India, preparing for the Test series, and with the first T20I won, Sri Lanka had a shot at a series win. It wasn't going to be straightforward: they needed 48 off three overs. Gunaratne hadn't yet earned the title of being Mr Calm under pressure, but he stepped up here. Moises Henriques repeatedly missed his lengths and was plundered for three successive sixes and a four. Fourteen were needed off the final over. Although Andrew Tye struck with the first ball, Gunaratne was on strike for the second, courtesy a cross-over. He blasted a full toss for four, followed by a six over mid-off, but with three needed off two, he took a single to bring Lasith Malinga on strike. Malinga somehow squeezed a single. Gunaratne now had to finish it with two off the final delivery. He backed away and crunched it over cover.

Dawid Malan
78 v South Africa
third T20I, Cardiff

Eoin Morgan, England's T20 captain, chose to rest this match, the decider, and was seen in the commentary box, from where he watched a 29-year-old debutant, determined to make up for lost time, come into his own. Showing no nerves and carrying an air of nonchalance, Malan, one of the most destructive hitters on the T20 circuit, pulled his second delivery for six. Cardiff's short square boundaries forced South Africa to bowl short, and this played into Malan's hands as he cut and pull with disdain, including depositing a Morne Morkel delivery out of the ground. When he was finally dismissed, he received a standing ovation. It had been a special T20 innings.

Evin Lewis made hay against his favourite T20I opponents, India © AFP

Evin Lewis
125 not out v India
only T20I, Kingston

A year after shredding India's attack for a hundred off 48 balls, Lewis was at it again, this time only a tad slower, taking 53 deliveries to bring up a bruising century that helped convert a chase of 191 into a cakewalk. The ferocity of his shot-making made Chris Gayle, in an equally monstrous mood at the other end, look sedate in comparison. Lewis' innings was the highest individual score in a successful T20I chase, and all the more remarkable because of the wretched form he was in: the preceding ODI series had fetched him 67 runs off 121 deliveries in four innings.

Thisara Perera
47 not out v Pakistan
second T20I, Independence Cup, Lahore

The only Sri Lankan in the World XI touring party, Perera made it clear his focus wasn't on security but on playing a key role in cricket returning to Pakistan. He also earned fans with his belligerent hitting in this game, though it was against the home team. Walking in with his side needing 69 off the last six overs, Thisara displayed a level of clinical ruthlessness that Sri Lanka have lacked in recent times. He walloped five sixes in an unbeaten 19-ball innings to complete the seven-wicket win off the penultimate ball of the innings - which he hit for a straight six to keep the series alive, inflicting Pakistan's first T20I defeat on home soil.

Ahmed Shehzad
89 v World XI
third T20I, Independence Cup, Lahore

Shehzad has been the subject of intense scrutiny in Pakistan, often being been hauled up for disciplinary issues that have derailed a promising career in which he has only occasionally sparkled despite obvious talent and ability. Here, he was returning to the side and had an opportunity to prove he was a changed man, both in temperament and attitude, and he answered the critics emphatically, narrowly missing out on a hundred. It was an innings that had all the destructive elements associated with top-class T20 batting, though as the innings progressed, Shehzad was hobbled by the sapping humidity and cramps. His three successive sixes off Ben Cutting were particularly breathtaking. More importantly, the innings contributed to a Pakistan win that got them the series.

Hit and no giggle: few purvey stone-faced brute force like Chris Gayle © Getty Images

Chris Gayle
40 v England
only T20I, Chester-le-Street

Gayle's hitting prowess was seemingly on the wane last year, partly because of recurring back injuries and a lack of match time, but he woke everyone up in a sensational display of hitting in this game, even if it was a cameo. He started with a streaky edge to third man off his first ball, and soaked up a handful of deliveries before going straight into overdrive. His seventh ball was walloped over deep midwicket to bring up his 100th T20I six. The next ball he drilled over the bowler's head to celebrate the landmark. It didn't help England that Evin Lewis too was crunching them like his mentor.

David Miller
101 not out v Bangladesh
second T20I, Potchefstroom

In this innings Miller broke the record for the fastest T20I century, previously held by his South African team-mate Richard Levi, shaving a full ten balls off the mark, to further demoralise a Bangladesh unit that had struggled to put up any sort of fight on their tour. The highlight of Miller's knock was the 31 he made off Mohammad Saifuddin in the penultimate over, becoming just the third cricketer after Evin Lewis and Yuvraj Singh to hit five sixes off five balls in a T20I. Miller's stunning assault took South Africa to a series win and a historic clean sweep across formats against a visiting team, the first such instance in 17 tours in which they have played an opposition in all three formats.

Colin Munro
109 not out v India
second T20I, Rajkot

Earlier in the summer, Munro told ESPNcricinfo that he had mulled turning into a freelance T20 cricketer, only to decide against it late to give himself another shot at the national side. His run in India with the New Zealand A team was far from extraordinary and the ODI series had been one of wasted starts for him. Now, in the shortest format, he had a point to prove, having been named MVP for Trinbago Knight Riders in a title-winning CPL season. Now, with the T20I series on the line for New Zealand, he chose the right time to make a blistering century, albeit with generous help from India who let him off three times. Munro scorched a 54-ball hundred, crunching seven sixes, all in the arc between deep midwicket and long-on, in an exhilarating display of T20 batsmanship that helped level the series with one to play.

Rohit Sharma
118 v Sri Lanka
second T20I, Indore

Rohit's glee at Thisara Perera electing to bowl on an Indore track that has always been full of runs translated into a night of monstrous hitting that helped him equal David Miller's record for the fastest T20I century. It was the earliest a century had been made in a T20I, two balls into the 12th over. With that much time remaining, hopes of another double-hundred surfaced - he had just bashed Sri Lanka for his third ODI double-ton a few days before. But Dushmantha Chameera bowled the most effective change-up of Sri Lanka's innings, a short slower ball that Rohit couldn't ramp over third man. He walked off dejected, but he had done the job, helping India get to a total of 260, which Sri Lanka fell well short of.

Click here for the T20I bowling shortlist

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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