A National T20 Cup team of the tournament – based on player performances throughout the tournament held in Rawalpindi and Lahore.
The vacuum created by cancellation of the New Zealand and England series, allowed Pakistan’s best players to feature and give their best in the National T20 Cup. The tournament became a testing ground for emerging talent, and also allowed some cricketers to put forward their best case for the T20 World Cup in the UAE.
This team is made-up of five batters, one all-rounder, a wicket-keeper, and four bowling options.
Wisden’s National T20 Cup team of the tournament
1. Babar Azam (Central Punjab)- Captain
Runs: 286, Batting average: 71.5, SR: 143, HS: 105*
Pakistan’s best batter and captain leads from the front. His 286 runs had a major role in Central Punjab’s success in the initial phase of the tournament.
2. Sharjeel Khan (Sindh)
Runs: 371, Batting average: 33.72, SR: 150.81, HS: 101
Unfortunate to miss out on a place in the T20 World Cup, Sharjeel Khan is the other opener in this XI. One of his recent knocks was a 56-ball 101 to help beat Southern Punjab.
3. Sahibzada Farhan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Runs: 447, Batting average: 40.63, SR: 132.24, HS: 78
KP’s Farhan has been the most successful batter in the National T20 Cup. He shuffled up and down the order and almost always produced good results for his team. He bats at number three, where he found success in the initial phase of the tournament, in this XI.
4. Haider Ali (Northern)
Runs: 317, Batting average: 63.4, SR: 146.75, HS: 91*
One of the players added to the Pakistan squad for the T20 World Cup. His best knock in the tournament was a 53-ball 91 which trumped Babar Azam’s 105 in a Central Punjab-Northern encounter.
5. Shoaib Malik (Central Punjab)
Runs: 225, Batting average: 75, SR: 149, HS: 85*
Another winner in the reshuffling of the Pakistan T20 World Cup squad, Shoaib Malik bats at number five in Wisden’s National T20 Cup XI. His bowling and fielding are an added bonus, and age hasn’t really slowed down his batting rate yet, as his quick-fire 85 showed.
6. Iftikar Ahmed (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Runs: 409, Wickets: 8, Batting SR: 170.41, Economy: 5.57
KP skipper Iftikar Ahmed has won games for his team with his batting in the middle-order, as well as delivered crucial spells with the ball. He fits in at numbers six. Player of the match in the final and player of the tournament, he is a man in form with both bat and ball. He averaged over 100 with the bat with a strike-rate of 170 – incredible numbers.
7. Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh)
Runs: 198, SR: 126.92, Dismissals: 10 (7 catches, 3 stumpings)
A beneficiary of Azam Khan’s loss of form, the former Pakistan skipper keeps wicket in Wisden’s National T20 Cup XI.
8. Asif Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Wickets: 12, Average: 25.83, Economy rate: 6.94
The slow left-arm spinner can be tough to score off, and makes it as the spinner in the XI. He can also bat as his T20 strike-rate of 138.76 testifies. He put in an important all-round performance against Balochistan, with a 4-ball 16 followed by a 3-8, to lead Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to a league phase win.
9. Wahab Riaz (Central Punjab)
Wickets: 12, Average: 21.16, Economy rate: 6.54
Age might not be on his side, but he is still a classy operator. His performances in the National T20 cup have been top-notch and he makes the third seamer in this XI.
10. Shaheen Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Wickets: 12, Average: 17.16, Economy rate: 8.58
One of Pakistan’s best left-arm fast bowlers in recent times, Shaheen Afridi will take the new ball in this line-up. His skill is all too well known, but he gave a demo of the same quite recently in the nets for Pakistan.
11. Imran Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
Wickets: 16, Average: 24.31, Economy rate: 8.33
While he never rose to the fame of his namesake on the cricketing field, Imran Khan shone in the National T20 Cup. He is the leading wicket-taker for the KP team, and shares the new ball with Shaheen in this XI.
Wisden’s National T20 Cup Team of the tournament
Babar Azam (c)
Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk)
Shaheen Shah Afridi