Cricket.com.au's T20 team of 2018
The team at cricket.com.au picks the best T20 XI of the year, factoring in both international cricket and domestic leagues
31 December 2018, 12:31 PM AEST
1) Colin Munro
New Zealand, Balkh Legends, Delhi Daredevils, Hampshire, Trinbago Knight Riders
M: 48 | Runs: 1530 | Ave: 34.00 | SR: 151.18 | 100s: 1 | 50s: 12 | HS: 104
The leading T20 run-scorer this year by some distance, the Kiwi left-hander starred in domestic leagues in India, England, the Caribbean and the UAE and had the highest strike rate (178.57) of all leading batsmen at international level as well.
2) Aaron Finch (c)
Australia, Kings XI Punjab, Melbourne Renegades, Surrey
M: 39 | Runs: 1350 | Ave: 48.21 | SR: 171.53 | 100s: 3 | 50s: 6 | HS: 172
The Australian's numbers in 2018 speak for themselves, his three hundreds the most by any player and his superb 172 against Zimbabwe the highest score by any batsman this year. His form both for his country and domestically, particularly for Surrey in the T20 Blast, was also a big reason for his surge into Australia's Test team for the first time.
3) AB de Villiers
Royal Challengers Bangalore, Tshwane Spartans
M: 22 | Runs: 762 | Ave: 42.33 | SR: 169.71 | 100s: 0 | 50s: 8 | HS: 93no
He played far less than others, but it's hard to deny the genius of AB de Villiers in the shortest form of the game. Having retired from international cricket, the South African scored six half-centuries from 11 innings at a strike rate touching 175 in the IPL and remains a valuable commodity on the T20 circuit.
4) Rishabh Pant (wk)
India, Delhi, Delhi Daredevils
M: 32 | Runs: 1209 | Ave: 41.68 | SR: 172.71 | 100s: 2 | 50s: 10 | HS: 128no | Ct: 20 | St: 3
The brash and colourful wicketkeeper-batsman lit up the IPL this year in a misfiring Delhi side, finishing as the second-highest run-scorer and providing one of the moments of the tournament with his unbeaten 128 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. His strike rate of 172 for the year is the highest of all leading batsmen, helping him edge out Jos Buttler and Dinesh Karthik as the wicketkeeper in our side.
5) Mohammad Nabi
Afghanistan, Balkh Legends, Leicestershire, Melbourne Renegades, Sunrisers Hyderabad
M: 39 | Runs: 745 | Ave: 26.60 | SR: 157.50 | 100s: 0 | 50s: 2 | HS 86* | Wkts: 35 | Econ: 7.17 | Ave: 25.88 | SR: 21.6 | BBI: 4-12
One of three genuine allrounders in this team, the Afghan star is the quintessential T20 player. Frugal and a wicket-taking threat with the ball either early on or in the middle overs – his economy rate of 7.15 is one of the best in the world – the powerful right-hander is also cool under pressure with the bat late in an innings.
6) Andre Russell
West Indies, Islamabad United, Jamaica Tallawahs, Kolkata Knight Riders, Nangarhar Leopards
M: 36 | Runs: 625 | Ave: 26.04 | SR: 183.82 | 100s: 1 | 50s: 1 | HS 121* | Wkts: 35 | Econ: 9.00 | Ave: 24.14 | SR: 16.0 | BBI: 3-31
As powerful with the bat in hand as he is lightning with the ball, the Jamaican star could almost make this side solely on the back of a single match in the Caribbean Premier League this year. Playing against Trinbago, Russell took a superb catch and bagged a last-over hat-trick in the field and then blazed a 40-ball century with the bat, his unbeaten 121 from 49 balls batting at No.7 one of the greatest T20 knocks ever. That strike rate for the year of 183.82 is simply stunning.
7) Daniel Christian
Delhi Daredevils, Hobart Hurricanes, Jozi Stars, Melbourne Renegades, Nottinghamshire
M: 44 | Runs: 885 | Ave: 34.03 | SR: 164.80 | 100s: 1 | 50s: 3 | HS 113* | Wkts: 36 | Econ: 9.17 | Ave: 27.27 | SR: 17.8 | BBI: 4-17
Having been axed from Victoria's contract list in the off-season, the Australian has become a T20 specialist and continues to thrive in leagues all over the world. His numbers with both bat and ball speak for themselves (he bowls a lot in the late overs, hence his high economy rate) and he's simply a winner in the shortest format having now one six T20 titles around the globe.
8) Rashid Khan
Afghanistan, Adelaide Strikers, Durban Heat, ICC World XI, Kabul Zwanan, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Sussex
M: 60 | Wkts: 94 | Econ: 6.31 | Ave: 15.43 | SR: 14.6 | BBI: 4-12
This man has been such a dominant force in T20 cricket in recent years that it's easy to let high expectations cloud judgement about his performances. But with the most wickets, the best average and the best economy rate of any leading bowler this year, and impressive improvement with the bat, he's the first man picked in this team.
9) Jofra Archer
Hobart Hurricanes, Quetta Gladiators, Rajasthan Royals, Sussex
M: 41 | Wkts: 61 | Econ: 8.31 | Ave: 20.77 | SR: 14.9 | BBI: 3-15
It's been a breakout year for the Bajan-turned-Englishman, who could well make his debut for his adopted country in 2019. A relative unknown when he came to the BBL last summer, his superb performance there led to big deals in Pakistan and India, where he continued to impress with the ball, in the field and with the bat late in the order as well.
10) Wahab Riaz
Barbados Tridents, Derbyshire, Lahore Whites, Peshawar Zalmi
M: 43 | Wkts: 46 | Econ: 6.98 | Ave: 24.13 | SR: 20.7 | BBI: 3-27
With Russell and Archer the fast-bowling strike pair in this XI, we needed a quick who is able to keep the runs down, hence the Pakistani gets the nod ahead of Aussie pacemen Billy Stanlake and AJ Tye. While his international career has stalled, Wahab has impressed in domestic leagues at home as well as in England and the Caribbean and is the only leading quick to have an economy rate of less than seven in 2018.
11) Imran Tahir
South Africa, Chennai Super Kings, Durham, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Multan Sultans, Nelson Mandela Bay Giants
M: 44 | Wkts: 59 | Econ: 6.79 | Ave: 18.16 | SR: 16.0 | BBI: 5-23
In a year dominated by leg-spinners, the South African veteran gets the nod just ahead of Afghanistan's Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Pakistan's Shadab Khan and Aussie Fawad Ahmed as well as finger spinner Sunil Narine. A star domestically in India, the UAE, the Caribbean and England, he also took a hat-trick in his one and only international this year and shows no signs of slowing down just three months out from his 40th birthday.