Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo, Vithushan Ehantharajah is a sportswriter for ESPNcricinfo, the Guardian, All Out Cricket and Yahoo Sport
A new winner emerged at the Women's World T20 for the first time since 2010. The tournament, billed to be the closest-ever, had the usual suspects making it through to the semi-finals. But few would have expected New Zealand, who pinned opponents down with precision in the group stages, and England, unbeaten for four games, to go out in the manner they did. India, the hosts, and South Africa flattered to deceive, while Sri Lanka seemed to fall two steps back after the highs of 2013. Pakistan were easily the best sub-continental side, bringing to the competition a flair that has not always been associated with them.
Hayley Matthews (153 runs from six matches, average 25.50, strike-rate 109.28)
All of 18, Matthews came into the tournament with plenty to prove. At the outset, 153 runs in six innings may not elicit excitement. But her brutal takedown of Australia, the three-time champions, in the final was alone worth its weight in gold. She could not have chosen a better occasion to bring up her maiden T20I fifty - a 45-ball 66 - that helped West Indies script the second-highest chase in Women's World T20 history.
Stafanie Taylor (captain) (246 runs from six matches, average 41, strike-rate 93.18)
At different stages during West Indies' campaign, Taylor seamlessly switched from the aggressor that she is, to an accumulator. She accrued scores of 40, 40, 35, 47, 25 and 59 to finish the tournament as the leading run-getter. Eight wickets in addition to her batting exploits also earned her the Player-of-the-Tournament award. Images of her sobbing inconsolably after a one-wicket loss to England could have easily been her defining image of the tournament, but she set the record straight by piloting the chase against Australia expertly with a rookie in the final.
Meg Lanning (201 runs from six matches, average 50.25, strike-rate 111.66)
Lanning not only shouldered her team's batting responsibilities, but impressed with leadership skills that came to the fore in Australia's thrilling semi-final win over England. Even when not at 100%, she bailed the team out of a hole - her unbeaten 19-ball 30 in a low-scoring game against South Africa gave them a winning start. She overcame a rare failure against New Zealand by registering scores of 56, 8, 55 and 52 on the bounce. What those scores do not reveal is her grit, supreme fitness and brute force that have elicited talks of her being the best all-round batter in the women's game today.
Harmanpreet Kaur (Seven wickets from four matches, economy-rate 5.45)
A blinder of a cameo and four-wicket haul against Bangladesh Women in the tournament opener increased the weight of expectation on her shoulders. Her batting from there on did not tail off, but it did not take off either as she failed to bring out the big hits on slow and low surfaces. It was her trail of wickets with a mixture of legspin, offspin and deceptive wrong-uns which kept India alive in defenses of 97 and 90 against Pakistan and England.
Deandra Dottin (129 runs and nine wickets from six matches, strike-rate 115.17, economy-rate 6.42)
Her winning double-act with Taylor in a must-win clash against India showed why she is rated highly in the women's game. Runs aside, she was regularly summoned to bowl in the death overs, which she did admirably courtesy a mix of her off-cutters and point-precision yorkers. Having to defend 10 off the final over against India, she brought out all those qualities to concede just six to give her team a lifeline. On her rare off day with the ball, in the final, she took her team across the finish line after her captain's dismissal.
Sophie Devine (120 runs and nine wickets from six matches, economy-rate 5.58)
Devine's run-out in the semi-final hurtled New Zealand's progress, and may have left her ruing a run that was not on. But her impact during the team's unbeaten run in the group stages cannot be understated. With the scars of 2014, where New Zealand were ousted on net run-rate, still fresh, her best performance came in the final league game against South Africa, where she took three wickets and polished off a modest chase with an unbeaten 27. Always around the periphery, the owner of the fastest T20I fifty in the women's game often provided the impetus towards the death after Suzie Bates set platforms for strong totals. Devine was also a livewire on the field and her medium pace always had the opposition on their toes.
Tammy Beaumont (138 runs from five matches, strike-rate 114.04)
Judged on glove work alone, there were several contenders. But as an overall package, Beaumont was the best pick even though Sarah Taylor is England's regular wicketkeeper. Her aggression upfront lent a new dimension to England's batting, and took a lot of pressure off Charlotte Edwards, the captain. It came as no surprise then that Beaumont was the team's second-best batsman. The manner in which she kept her shape on traditionally slow subcontinental surfaces was impressive.
Anam Amin (Seven wickets from four matches, economy-rate 5.45)
Amin, who caught the eye of her national captain Sana Mir at an inter-college match in Lahore two years ago, was used mostly as an attacking option. Pakistan's Player of the Match in their first two matches used the surfaces as an ally to bring all the virtues of a typical left-arm spinner into play - drift, dip and flight. As impressive as her four-wicket haul was against West Indies, it was her spell against India, where she bottled the runs and built pressure, that eventually resulted in a train of wickets. An economy of less than five runs over four games was a testimony to her discipline on tracks where the slow bowlers could have easily gotten carried away.
Megan Schutt (Seven wickets from six matches, economy-rate 6.52)
Three years ago, Schutt, just two ODIs old then, surprised many with her street-smart variations and subtle changes in length to play a key role in Australia's World Cup triumph, where she was the highest wicket-taker. Having been a constant since, she has stepped up every time Australia needed her to; her vital scalps of Beaumont and Katherine Brunt subdued England's challenge in a tense semi-final. While she could not do a repeat in the final, her contribution to help Australia get to the summit clash was not forgotten.
Leigh Kasperek (Nine wickets from five matches, average 10.11, economy-rate 4.91)
Less than six months after her international debut against India, Kasperek, who travelled to New Zealand from Scotland via Perth, has underlined her value to New Zealand's bowling group. Nine wickets with her loopy offspin, the majority of which came in the Powerplay overs, played a part in her team's unbeaten run in the group stages. Her average of 10.11, the ability to beat batsmen in flight and a general control over her craft allowed Bates to exercise control when on the field. Kasperek's three-wicket hauls against Australia and South Africa helped New Zealand open up an early advantage in the group stages.
Anya Shrubsole (Seven wickets from five matches, economy-rate 4.93)
England's Player of the Tournament at the 2014 World T20 was once again Charlotte Edward's go-to option. Shrubsole's ability to swing the ball upfront and then return with her variations with a slightly older ball helped England keep the pressure on batting line-ups. Disappointing returns in the semi-final against Australia somewhat took the sheen off her tournament, but her returns of seven wickets in five games under the circumstances were more than creditable.