Champions League T20 2013 October 7, 2013

A mix of the fresh and the familiar

ESPNcricinfo picks the XI of the tournament

Dwayne Smith
(223 runs, strike-rate 143)
Smith was Mumbai Indians' rock atop the batting order, fashioning brisk starts from power and touch in equal measure, and rarely failing to punish the poor deliveries - particularly if there was an error in length. Four times in five innings he crossed 40, and often had to contend with an ambling Sachin Tendulkar at the other end. His 48 off 25 against Perth Scorchers set the tone for the frenetic chase that put Mumbai into the semi-finals, while his 59 against Trinidad and Tobago made a challenging chase seem like a cakewalk.

Ajinkya Rahane
(288 runs, strike-rate 119)
Having made four half-centuries on the trot - a Champions League record - Ajinkya Rahane finished with the most runs in the tournament this year. Less explosive than Smith, he was perhaps even more important to his team, whose dashers thrived because of the stability Rahane provided. He set up the win against Chennai Super Kings in the semi-final with his 70 off 56, during which he also smote the prettiest six of the tournament - a caress off a R Ashwin legbreak over deep cover.

Sanju Samson (wk)
(192 runs, strike-rate 127, five catches and a stumping)
Samson began his tournament with a match-winning half century against Mumbai Indians, but it was his valiant 60 off 33 in pursuit of a tall target in the final that puts him in this list. Only 18, but nerveless in the biggest match of his life so far, he played authoritatively through the leg side to elevate his side to a winning position. Has the tendency to get out playing one big shot too many, but has the raw material to become a future star. He kept tidily during the group matches, before being relieved of the gloves - perhaps to ease the burden on his batting.

Rohit Sharma (capt)
(173 runs, strike-rate 152)

Has his ability invoked so often that his name may as well be listed as a synonym for 'talent' in the thesaurus, Rohit had another good Twenty20 tournament with the bat, and was a steady, if not always an inspirational, captain. Didn't make any gargantuan scores, but he was impactful when it counted. His 51 not out off 24 balls against Perth Scorchers rescued the side from the brink, after their indifferent group stage performances, and his 33 from 14 in the final began the frenzied sequence that propelled Mumbai to their giant score. Although Mumbai were without their pace spearhead in this tournament, they barely missed Lasith Malinga, thanks to Rohit's intelligent use of Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Suresh Raina
(221 runs, strike-rate 145.39, 3 wickets)
Has been one of the most consistent Twenty20 batsmen since the IPL began, and he found a way to contribute in some way in each of his Champions League matches. A 47 against Titans began his tournament, before he struck 84 from 57 balls to set the scene for MS Dhoni's ballistics against Sunrisers Hyderabad. That blazing start with the bat was followed by three middling scores, but his tight spin bowling was also an asset to Super Kings.

Brad Hodge
(109 runs, strike-rate of 198)
Only batted thrice in the tournament, but played a game-changing hand in two of those innings. His 46 off 23 against Lions transformed what would have been a middling Twenty20 total into a commanding one, and his 52 from 23 six days later overcame Royals' middle-order stagnation and sent them to the top of their group. Royals' run chase in the final was crying out for a Hodge finish, but he was instead forced to watch from the sidelines, with a knee injury.

James Neesham
(145 runs, strike-rate 169, 6 wickets, economy rate 7.31)
Twenty-three year old Neesham was perhaps the find of the tournament, as he impressed with nerveless hitting and steady medium pace, as Otago breezed through the early stages of the competition. His unbeaten 32 against Kandurata Maroons ensured Otago finished their innings strongly, but his finest moment came against Lions, when he bludgeoned 52 from 25 to revive an ailing chase, to tie the match. Otago were knocked out of the tournament when they lost a must-win match against Royals, but that was no fault of Neesham's, who took 3 for 22.

Nathan Coulter-Nile
(6 wickets, economy rate 6.37)
Coulter-Nile only played in the tournament because Malinga was unavailable, but he quickly became the most reliable bowler in Mumbai's attack. Delivering tight lines at a sharp pace early in the innings, then returning with a bag of death-over tricks and the smarts to go with it, an expensive Coulter-Nile over was a rarity. He took three wickets when Mumbai were desperate to keep Perth Scorchers to a low total, but was even better in the semi-final against Trinidad and Tobago, whose explosive batsmen he kept in check throughout the innings.

Dwayne Bravo
(7 wickets, economy rate 8.04)
Gets here almost solely for his bowling, which was effective in tandem with Super Kings' spin bowlers, particularly in the middle overs. His 2 for 34 against Sunrisers helped scuttle a promising chase, but his best bowling came in the semi-final, when he took 3 for 26 to keep Royals to a par score.

Pravin Tambe
(12 wickets, economy rate 4.10)
Tambe's is without a doubt the most uplifting story in the Champions League, though he was denied a perfect 42nd birthday present in the final, through no fault of his own. Having played only three IPL matches, Tambe was added to the XI in Royals' second match of the tournament, and he immediately shone, taking 4 for 15. His flat, fast legbreaks proved difficult to put away, and his effective use of the googly claimed him plenty of wickets. In a final where his team conceded more than 10 an over, Tambe bowled four overs, took two wickets, and gave away only 19. He also finished the top wicket-taker in the league, edging past Sunil Narine by a wicket.

Sunil Narine
(11 wickets, economy rate 4.30) Often difficult, sometimes unplayable, Narine's mystery has not waned in Twenty20 cricket, where batsmen have begun to play the man, rather than the ball. Twice the team suffered because Denesh Ramdin kept him out of the attack for too long. He took four wickets for nine runs against Sunrisers, but T&T still lost the match. Against Mumbai in the semi-final, he was again brought in only after the openers had put on 90 together. Still, he was the cornerstone of his team's campaign, and his knuckle ball was as destructive as it has ever been.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 11, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    @ Rahul Anand I think this is based on the performance in the champions league.In which case,most of those players you've listed can't be in.

  • Vinit on October 8, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    Rahane & Samson are way behind Misbah & Dhoni! Those selections are a blunder!!

  • Rashmi on October 8, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    Is there any way for Hodge to become the batting coach of India?

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    Henry Davids for Rohit Sharma, the numbers speak for themselves. Shikhar Dhawan not a bad choice either. Dwayne Bravo does not warrant a place either. Would rather pick Shane Watson. We are not here to evenly distribute places amongst teams, but pick the best 11.

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    The BEST CAPTAIN is without doubt RAHUL DRAVID! , There cannot be any other contender for this in the present Champion LEAGUE Twenty 20.

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Disagree with the Captain's choice. Rohit Sharma can be in the team as a player and not as captain. He have all the top-class players in his team. Almost all the big players have been a captain at the top level. So he have got plenty support to run the things on the field. The captain should be undoubtedly Sir Dravid, whether you include him in playing eleven or not, but he has been the best among all the other captain and that too by a good distance.

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    Quite fittingly, players from MI and RR share the spoils mostly in the team of the tournament. What's getting more intriguing is the case of CSK. It seems they are suffering from a syndrome of peaking too early in a tournament if we are to go by their performances in this year's IPL and CLT20. CSK, MI, RR and SRH are becoming the power centers of the IPL with RCB as the entertainers. These developments have already got me glued in anticipation to next year's IPL auctions.

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    @Usman Bashir 8th Team in IPL is much stronger than top T20 team of PAK if exists. Don't post hilarious views, unless you don't know about CLT20 championship. Think about how cricket can revive in PAK & search for its new talent rather than commenting on IND talents. @ Misbah ul Haq Lovers The article has completely impartial views and focussed on top 4 teams' players. Neesham had an outstanding imp-active performances whose team was narrowly missed S/F bus. It can't be neglected. The article can't be individualistic or only stats based where Misbah's performance had no effect on his team which finished at the bottom of qualifying. Such records do please for him (he likes very much to do) & PAK lovers nobody else. @Jannie Swart De Villiers, Steyn or Davids....where are they? No where. You are kidding to include them. People like MSD, Dhawan, Pollard missed out due to 1 or 2 performances.

    Finally @Andrew Fidel Fernando for nice article.

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    Take mine. Play it. Watch it. I bet :)

    1. Shikhar Dhawan 2. Mike Hussey 3. Shane Watson 4. Misbah ul Haq 5. MSD 6. Keiron Pollard 7. A.B Devilliers 8. Jadeja 9. Ashwin 10. Steyn 11. Johnson.

  • Dummy4 on October 8, 2013, 4:55 GMT

    excuse me??? Sanju Samson and Not MSD??? You gotta b kidding me mate. Hilarious. Bite your lips thrice, come back to senses :)