T20 World Cup: Wanindu Hasaranga takes the Smart Stats honours
Asalanka, Buttler, Babar and Warner round out top five performers
Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasaranga is the MVP of the T20 World Cup 2021 according to ESPNcricinfo's Smart Stats (all matches from start of Super 12s have been considered). In the Super 12s, Hasaranga took ten wickets and conceded runs at just 5.84 per over in the so-called Group of Death. Hasaranga also took a hat-trick against South Africa, but that was not enough to get his team over the line.
Numbers, however, do not do full justice to Hasaranga's impact.
To gauge that, we need to look at Smart Stats, which looks at every batting and bowling performance through the prism of match context, and the pressure on the batter and bowler at each delivery when they batted or bowled.
The games against England and South Africa stood out. All ten wickets that he took were of batters in the top seven.
Hasaranga bowled three overs at the death too, taking four wickets at 6.66. In the middle overs, he bowled 14 overs and conceded just 6.14 runs per over. Hasaranga was the partnership breaker for his team, taking key wickets when they were required. He dismissed Aiden Markram, Temba Bavuma and Dwyane Pretorius against South Africa, while he got Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan against England.
Hasaranga took wickets when others struggled, which also helped him top the impact charts. Hasaranga's match impact of 71.6 was way ahead of his team-mate Charith Asalanka, who was next.
Asalanka had a match impact score of 55, and scored 225 runs at an impressive strike rate of 153.06. No one had a better strike rate than Asalanka among the top 20 run-getters in the competition. Asalanka's unbeaten 80 against Bangladesh was a knock under serious pressure, with his team struggling at 79 for 4 in the tenth over chasing 171.
Openers Jos Buttler, Babar Azam and Player of the Tournament David Warner complete the top five.
Most impactful bowler
The list of bowlers with the highest Smart Wickets is different from the list of top wicket-takers, because Smart Wickets takes into account the quality of batter dismissed, their score at the time of dismissal, and the match context at that point. Considering all those factors, Trent Boult and Josh Hazlewood take the top-two positions with 15 and 14.6 Smart Wickets respectively.
Adam Zampa, who is first on the actual wicket-takers' list with 13 wickets, is fifth on the Smart Wickets tally with an aggregate of 11.8. Hasaranga and Ish Sodhi complete the top five, while five of the top-ten bowlers are wristspinners.
There was not much to separate Boult and Hazlewood. While Hazlewood took the most wickets in the powerplay with seven, Boult was the second-highest wicket-taker at the death with six wickets. Both quicks were instrumental in containing runs or taking crucial wickets. Boult conceded five runs or less in four out of seven games in not-so-favourable conditions for quicks. Hazlewood, on the other hand, had a big impact by either picking crucial wickets early in the match or reducing the run flow, like he did in the final against New Zealand and in the first game against South Africa.
Interestingly, both Boult and Hazlewood had very poor semi-finals, conceding more than ten runs per over without taking a wicket.
The legspin trio of Hasaranga, Sodhi and Zampa all had excellent impact through the middle overs. Zampa took 13 wickets in this phase and went for less than six runs per over in the competition. Although some of his wickets did come about when the match result was a formality, or were of tail-enders, he made some crucially important strikes too. The former added to the tally for conventional wickets, but didn't add much to Zampa's Smart Wickets count. His five-wicket haul against Bangladesh was worth just 3.29 Smart Wickets, while his spells against South Africa and Pakistan counted for a lot more.
Top batting and bowling performances in a match
While Hasaranga and Boult took pole positions in terms of MVP and best bowler, the match-wise best batting and bowling performance went to Martin Guptill and Shadab Khan respectively. Guptill's 93 from 56 balls in tough, humid conditions against Scotland was the top batting performance.
This was the only game that was won by a team batting first in Dubai. Guptill single-handedly powered his team, hitting seven sixes and six fours. His partner in a century stand for the fourth wicket, Glenn Phillips, scored at a strike rate of just 89, making it that much tougher for Guptill.
\The only century of the tournament was by Jos Buttler. His brilliant unbeaten 101 against Sri Lanka in tough batting conditions was the second best batting performance of the tournament. Buttler scored 62% of his team's runs, and at one stage had made only 35 from 38 balls. In his next 29 balls, he smashed 66 runs in bowler-friendly conditions. Kane Williamson's 85 in the final, Najibullah Zadran's 73 against New Zealand and Asalanka's 80 from 40 balls against Bangladesh complete the top-five best batting performances.
Among the impactful bowling performance, Shadab's 4 for 26 in the semi-finals topped the chart.
Defending 176, Shadab took the key wickets of Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith and David Warner. He conceded just 6.25 runs per over when all other bowlers went upwards of 8 per over. Shadab's four wickets were worth almost seven Smart Wickets. What should have been a match-winning performance sadly ended in a losing cause. Hasaranga's two spells against England and South Africa are in the top five along with Hazlewood and Boult's efforts in the final.