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ESPNcricinfo Awards

ESPNcricinfo Awards 2019 T20I batting nominees: push the tempo

The T20I batting nominees were in no mood to take their foot off the pedal

Tim Seifert: Baz in the making?  •  AFP

Tim Seifert: Baz in the making?  •  AFP

Tim Seifert
84 v India
first T20I, Wellington

As Ian Smith said on commentary, there was something of Brendon McCullum in wicketkeeper-batsman Seifert's turbocharged innings. Seifert, whose previous highest T20I score was 14, signalled intent early, charging down the track in the third over to swipe Bhuvneshwar Kumar for six and four. He might have been held in check had MS Dhoni not dropped him on 17; instead, Krunal Pandya found himself launched into the grandstand for six next ball. Seifert brought up his fifty in 30 balls, then hit Pandya for back to back sixes in the 11th over. When a Khaleel Ahmed yorker finally took Seifert out, it was already too late - New Zealand were on 134 in the 13th over.
Glenn Maxwell
113 not out v India
second T20I, Bengaluru

On a tricky pitch, with Australia down 22 for 2, the 191 India set had started to loom a bit when Maxwell walked in to bat. He mixed caution and aggression, striking seven fours and nine sixes in his innings, paddling Vijay Shankar over square leg, lofting Yuzvendra Chahal for consecutive sixes, and drilling Jasprit Bumrah for two fours soon after. At the end of the 19th over it was still close, with Australia needing nine to win, but Maxwell sealed it with a six and four to take Australia to their first bilateral T20I series win in India.
Hazratullah Zazai
162 not out v Ireland
second T20I, Dehradun

Zazai's previous highest T20I score, 82, also came against Ireland, in 2018. Elsewhere on his CV - a 55-ball 125, and the joint fastest T20 fifty, off 12 balls, both in the Afghanistan Premier League. It should have been a portent but Ireland didn't read the signs. Zazai went whang from the get go, hitting 16 sixes, including four off a Kevin O'Brien over. He brought up his hundred off just 42 balls, and though he missed breaking the record for highest T20I score by 11 runs, several other records tumbled: biggest T20I team total, second-highest individual T20I score, the most sixes by a batsman in a T20I innings, and the biggest partnership in all T20s.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa
77 v Pakistan
second T20I, Lahore

A second-string Sri Lanka were taking on Pakistan, the top-ranked T20I team, at home. Rajapaksa, playing his debut series, didn't get that memo. He set out aggressively, finding gaps and lifting deliveries authoritatively over bowlers' heads to get to his maiden T20I fifty in 31 balls. He added 94 runs for the third wicket with Shehan Jayasuriya, and hit six sixes and four fours, the most outrageous of which came off a 140kph-plus Mohammad Hasnain delivery. When Rajapaksa finally holed out to Shadab Khan in the 17th over, he had laid the foundation for Sri Lanka's first series win against Pakistan in seven attempts.
David Warner
100 not out v Sri Lanka
first T20I, Adelaide

Warner was coming off a poor Ashes summer in England but he found his feet in the fifth over of this game, depositing Kasun Rajitha all over the ground, scoring a total of 39 runs off 11 balls from the bowler. Aided first by Aaron Finch, then an explosive Glenn Maxwell, Warner powered Australia to 232 in 19.5 overs, whereupon he found himself on 99. He scrounged up a single off the last ball, for his maiden T20I hundred - on his birthday, to boot.
Dawid Malan
103 not out v New Zealand
fourth T20I, Napier

Malan had the starring role when England posted their highest T20I total, setting up a series-levelling win in Napier. He blazed to his hundred in 48 balls  -  the fastest T20I century by an England batsman. For England, it was a batting blitzkrieg, first set up by Eoin Morgan, then by Malan, who, having reached his half-century in 31 balls, shifted gears for the rest of his innings. He savaged Ish Sodhi's legspin, bludgeoning 36 off 11 balls, and got to his hundred with a six off Trent Boult.
Jonny Bairstow
47 v New Zealand
fifth T20I, Auckland

The two words that have come to haunt New Zealand made another cruel appearance four months after the World Cup. This time it was Bairstow's turn to deny them in the Super Over. In a rain-shortened 11-over game, he made 47 from 18 deliveries, lofting Ish Sodhi for three consecutive sixes. When Chris Jordan's four off the last ball took England to a tie, Super Over responsibilities fell to Bairstow and Eoin Morgan. Bairstow hit a six, as did Morgan, and they made 17 in all; and unlike in the World Cup final, this time New Zealand fell decisively short.
Mushfiqur Rahim
60 not out v India
first T20I, Delhi

Bangladesh came to India with a depleted team, reeling from the ban against star allrounder Shakib Al Hasan, and having lost eight matches in a row to the home side. Rahim walked in to bat in the eighth over, when Bangladesh were at a reasonable 54 for 2. He set a sedate run-a-ball pace, taking singles when he could and attempting adventurous shots when the opportunity arose. On a slow, turning pitch he wore the spinners out, and then cut loose against Khaleel Ahmed, pulling, scooping and slogging four fours from his last over, which brought the target down to four off the 20th. Bangladesh duly sealed their first T20I victory over India, riding on Mushi's unbeaten innings.
Virat Kohli
94 not out v West Indies
first T20I, Hyderabad

Kohli was not having a good day. Nine balls into his innings he had only three runs. Glowering, he sent a fuller ball from Hayden Walsh rocketing for four and another, off Khary Pierre, over extra cover. He then nearly chopped a Walsh delivery onto the stumps, and uncharacteristically exposed all his stumps in a Jason Holder over. A six and a four followed, but Kohli then got mad at the umpire about a high full toss being ruled legit. He and Kesrick Williams riled each other before Kohli launched him for two gorgeous sixes. It was not Kohli's day, but he went past his highest T20I score, and took India to a comfortable victory.
Rohit Sharma
71 v West Indies
third T20I, Mumbai

At the start of a T20I innings, Sharma often takes his time finding his feet before upping the pace. Not in this match, where he threw his bat at the second delivery, which he powered for four. An over later he hammered Sheldon Cottrell for two fours and a six. Sharma was striking at 200 at the end of Powerplay but only getting started. Spinner Khary Pierre, who had gone for 14 in his first over, went for 21 in his next, which included two sixes and a four from Sharma. When he was dismissed in the 12th over, India were on 135, well on their way to a 200-plus total.
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