Every edition of the T20 World Cup has been graced by the brilliance of the greatest batsmen of all time, showcasing their talents on the biggest stage.
The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup has been a marquee event for many years now, and with each edition, a new player has emerged as the highest run scorer to take the mantle of the world’s best.
When brilliant batsmanship is combined with consistency, it has often proved to be one of the key factors in a team’s success in the tournament. From the history of the T20WC, it is evident that this list is set to be an elite group of players who represent the best of the best.
As you can see from the table below, every edition of the T20 World Cup has produced its own top-run-getter.
Matthew Hayden in T20 World Cup 2007
There is no doubt that Matthew Hayden has made a powerful and intimidating contribution to Australia’s batting line-up in the first edition of the tournament in South Africa, tonking the most boundaries (32 fours and 10 sixes) while accruing 265 runs in six games.
In the second match of the tournament, Hayden played the ‘classical Hayden’ by stepping down the track and going over the inner circle regardless of pace or spin as he scored an unbeaten 67 against the English team.
Throughout the tournament, Hayden had made a habit of staying unbeaten in run-chases, and he once again demonstrated his abilities by dominating Bangladesh with 73 in 48 balls and went on to follow that with 58 in 38 balls against Sri Lanka, which led Australia to a semi-final match against India in the end.
As Hayden looked to get into the finals, he scored an impressive 62 off 47 deliveries, which was the second-highest score of his career, but he was ultimately dismissed by Sreesanth, which culminated with India winning the match.
Tillakaratne Dilshan in T20 World Cup 2009
In the tournament, Dilshan was clearly the best batter out of all the players as he also received the award for Player of the Tournament for helping to lead his team to victory.
In the arena of T20 cricket, which is becoming increasingly exciting with big shots and massive sixes, Dilshan’s remarkable ability to find gaps and ‘Dil-scoop’ the ball in an audacious manner has been overshadowed by his prowess in finding the boundary 50 times, 18 more times than his second-most counterpart (Jacques Kallis).
Dilshan was the talk of the tournament from the beginning and he scored back-to-back half-centuries. However, his first Player of the Match award came against Pakistan during the tournament when he scored 46 off 39 balls.
After an undefeated group stage, Sri Lanka was riding high on momentum as they arrived in the semi-finals, where Dilshan’s 96 off 57 balls gave them a chance to qualify for the final against Pakistan after going undefeated through the group stages.
Mahela Jayawardena in T20 World Cup 2010
Jayawardena, an experienced campaigner who has been a part of Sri Lanka’s squad for over a decade, made an immediate impact in their first match after his arrival, smashing 81 off 51 balls against New Zealand. Despite his efforts, however, New Zealand managed to win the game by two wickets, so his efforts were in vain.
Against Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka’s opening batter also went on to score their first and only century of the T20 World Cup, 100 off 64 deliveries, which was also the first and only century of the tournament for Sri Lanka. Then, against the West Indies, he came ever so close to completing a hat-trick of fifty, only falling just short of scoring another hundred by two runs, completing a hat-trick of fifty-plus scores.
Sri Lanka lost its chances to reach the final of the tournament after a string of low scores during the second half of the tournament.
Shane Watson in T20 World Cup 2012
It was Watson at his destructive best who has crowned the Player of the Tournament at the 2012 edition of the tournament.
In spite of the heavy workload with the ball, the performance of his bat remained unaffected during the game. During the innings, as the all-rounder opened the batting, he managed to score 249 runs at a strike rate of 150 and registered 249 runs at 49.80.
During Australia’s first test match, Watson scored an amazing 51 off just 30 deliveries, which set the tone for the series. The fiery form continued against the Indian team when he scored 41 off 24 balls, followed by a dominating 72 off 42 deliveries, as he continued to show his flamboyance. The rest of his prime continued not just against South Africa, but also in his subsequent game against England, in which he scored another half-century.
However, despite his efforts, Australia could only make it to the semifinals of the World Cup, where they lost to eventual champion West Indies, as a result of his efforts.
Virat Kohli in T20 World Cup 2014
India’s batting great Virat Kohli was at his magnificent best during the 2014 edition of the tournament when he was at the top of his game. Against Kohli, the opposition had no answer to the formidable force which he proved to be.
It was Kohli’s 4 half-centuries that helped Kohli accumulate 319 runs in just six matches. With an average of 106.33 runs per game and an incredible strike rate of 129.14 runs per game, his runs were completed at an astonishing pace.
It is unfortunate that Kohli was not able to contribute to India’s efforts to claim a second ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Trophy. In the final against Sri Lanka, Kohli made 77 runs from 58 balls which was an excellent score that stood out from the rest.
Tamim Iqbal in T20 World Cup 2016
During his recent tournament in the Dominican Republic, the Bangladesh southpaw made a name for himself as a white-ball batter who is dangerous. Bangladesh was assured of their qualification to the Super 10 stage of the tournament as a result of fireworks from his blade.
With flamboyance and a hard-hitting intent, he opened the innings with a bang. Iqbal played a match-winning hand of 83 in the first match against the Netherlands and provided the team with victory.
His campaign was, however, highlighted most by his century against Oman, which was the highlight of the campaign. With a score of 103 off 63 balls, Iqbal played an important role in setting a target of 153 for the team.
The Bangladeshi team did not quite get off to a good start during the group stage of the tournament, losing all of their matches.
Babar Azam in T20 World Cup 2021
There is nothing more important than class, consistency, and candescence. Whenever Azam walked out to bat, the audience was captivated by the elegance of his drives and his ability to switch gears as he walked onto the field.
It was Azam who scored a crucial half-century in Pakistan’s first victory over India in the T20 World Cup, in which he had an unbeaten partnership of 152 with Mohammad Rizwan.
It wasn’t long before Pakistan lost to Australia in the semi-finals of the tournament in an exciting contest after the opener scored three more fifties.
Among the three players who have recorded the most half-centuries in a single tournament, Babar shares the record for scoring the most half-centuries (four) with Virat Kohli (2014) and Hayden (2007).
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