Desert T20 Challenge January 22, 2017

The team of the tournament at the Desert T20 Challenge

ESPNcricinfo's picks for the best performers at the inaugural edition of the tournament in the UAE

Mohammad Shahzad's finals-day run tally of 132 alone would have put him among the top run-scorers in the tournament © Peter Della Penna

1. Mohammad Shahzad (wk) - 207 runs @ 51.75

Afghanistan's wicketkeeper-batsman stuck another feather in his cap by becoming the first player to score two T20I fifties on the same day: he produced the highest score of the tournament with 80 in the semi-final win over Oman, before an unbeaten 52 in Afghanistan's title-clinching ten-wicket romp over Ireland. Shahzad had the most wicket-keeping dismissals (nine) and finished as the leading scorer at the Desert T20. His finals-day tally alone would have put him in the top five. He also provided a perfect foil for Nawroz Mangal in the former captain's farewell series, with the pair producing three half-century opening stands.

2. Zeeshan Maqsood - 99 runs at 24.75; 2 wickets @ 33.50, Econ 4.18

His opening partners in this tournament made 14 runs in four innings and, as a result, he had to rein in his aggressiveness. Despite that, Maqsood was effective at the top of the order. He top-scored with 34 against Netherlands and 33 in the semi-final against Afghanistan before being run-out by his partner at a key phase of the knock-out match. Maqsood brought as much value with the ball, constantly building pressure through tight spells of left-arm spin, and had the second best economy rate, after Rashid Khan, among bowlers who had played more than one match.

3. Calum MacLeod - 117 runs @ 39.00

The right-hander swept and reverse-swept Scotland to an unbeaten run in Group B. He made 60 and teamed with Richie Berrington to add 127 for the third wicket against Hong Kong in the opening match of the tournament, a Scotland T20I record for any wicket and the highest partnership at the event. He also took four catches in the field, tied for second most of a fielder, behind George Dockrell, and completed one run-out as well.

Gary Wilson regularly crafted Ireland's final-overs surges in the tournament © Peter Della Penna

4. Richie Berrington - 108 runs @ 54.00

Though his highest score was an unbeaten 60 in the win over Hong Kong, he had a greater impact in Scotland's dramatic seven-run win over Netherlands. Entering at 13 for 3 after Paul van Meekeren wrecked the top order inside the Powerplay, he made a pivotal 38 to top-score in a total of 148 for 7. Berrington made sure the target would hold up as he charged in from long-on to run out Ahsan Malik and Paul van Meekeren on consecutive balls at the start of the 20th over to end the match. For good measure he added one more run-out two days later against Oman.

5. Gary Wilson - 155 runs @ 51.66

The second-highest scorer behind Shahzad, Wilson's strike rate of 156.56 was the highest among the top ten batsmen and he seamlessly transitioned Ireland's middle-overs accumulations into final-overs surges. He struck 38 not out off 28 balls against Namibia to seal victory with two balls to spare and then smoked out Scotland in the semi-final with an unbeaten 65 off 29 balls through basically orthodox shots.

6. Mohammad Nabi - 50 runs @ 25.00; 7 wickets, Econ 5.69

Nabi was named Man of the Tournament, earned basically through demolitions of Ireland on the opening night in Abu Dhabi and again in the final in Dubai. In the first instance, he took two wickets to help restrict Ireland to 125 for 6 before clipping an unbeaten 26 off 17 balls in a five-wicket win. In the final, he ravaged their batting order with 4 for 10 to trigger Afghanistan's first ever ten-wicket win in T20Is and Ireland's first ever defeat by the same margin in the format.

Arguably the standout player of the tournament, Rashid Khan bowled with the confidence and experience of someone twice his age © Peter Della Penna

7. Najibullah Zadran - 25 runs @ 25.00

Because he's "Half Man, Half Amazing". And because he helped seal two chases in the two games where Afghanistan faced moderate challenges. He was with Nabi at the end in the opening match against Ireland, making 11 not out to seal a win with eight balls to spare. Afghanistan did it with seven balls to spare against UAE, though they were made to sweat a little bit more until Najibullah arrived at the crease with 33 off 20 required to win. Needing 20 in the final two overs, he then bamboozled UAE medium pacer Mohammad Shahzad with the shot of the tournament.

8. Rashid Khan - 9 wickets @ 6.55, Econ 3.61

Definitely the standout bowler and arguably the standout player in the tournament. His best statistical performance of 3 for 4 wiping out the Namibia tail was easily his least impressive. On three occasions - against Ireland and UAE in the group stage, and Oman in the semi-final - the mood in the stadium palpably shifted when Rashid came on to bowl as he disrupted middle-overs batting plans, taking two wickets on each occasion. The 18-year-old bowls with the intelligence, confidence and experience of someone twice his age.

9. Boyd Rankin - 4 wickets @ 18.25, Econ 6.63

He struggled to get anything out of the pitch on the opening night in Abu Dhabi against Afghanistan and then sat out the next match against Namibia dealing with back trouble. Coming back into the XI against UAE in a match to decide the second semi-finalist from Group A, Rankin flattened their opening pair and finished with 3 for 16.

In the semi-final against Ireland, Scotland came out guns blazing in the Powerplay in pursuit of a target of 212, reaching 66 for 1 after six. That sequence included two Rankin overs in which he conceded a total of three runs and removed Matthew Cross. Scotland may well have reprised Netherlands' Sylhet stunner without Rankin's contribution.

Jacob Mulder's performance in the tournament may have cemented his status as Ireland's No. 1 spin option heading into the spring and summer © Peter Della Penna

10 Jacob Mulder - 10 wickets @10.20, Econ 5.66

The Australia-born legspinner made an immediate impact in his first overseas tour with the Ireland squad and finished as the tournament's leading wicket-taker. He helped Ireland save face in the opener when the side were on the verge of a colossal defeat. Against Namibia he decimated the middle order and neutralized the damage done by a blistering opening stand. Then, he claimed two more wickets against UAE before taking 4 for 16 against Scotland in the semi-final to hasten their collapse. In the process he may have cemented his status as Ireland's number-one spin option heading into the spring and summer, ahead of George Dockrell and Andy McBrine.

11. Bilal Khan - 7 wickets @ 16.71, Econ 8.45

The left-arm quick has had trouble getting into the Oman starting line-up due to restrictions on the number of four-year qualified residents being allowed in the XI at ICC tournaments. That restriction didn't apply at this event and, given a chance to spearhead the pace attack in the absence of Munis Ansari, Bilal flourished. He was on a hat-trick in the first over of Netherlands' chase, then sparked Hong Kong's 87-all out implosion in their next match by reeling in the aggressive Nizakat Khan and Babar Hayat to finish with 3 for 18. That Man-of-the-Match performance against Hong played a major role in Oman reaching the semis.

12th Man. Con de Lange - 6 wickets @ 16.50, Econ 6.18

The architect of Scotland's bowling success in their unbeaten run during the league stages, de Lange has been an outstanding find for the national team. Josh Davey may have been named Man of the Match in the dramatic win over Netherlands, for taking four wickets, but it was really de Lange's spell that changed the course of the second innings as he built pressure before dislodging the well-set Michael Rippon. He was effective in the other two group games and gave Scotland brief hope in the semi-final by removing both Irish openers.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna