Indian cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates after he dismissed Bangladesh cricketer Tamim Iqbal during the final Twenty20 international cricket match between Bangladesh and India of the Nidahas Trophy tri-nation Twenty20 tournament at the R. Premadasa stadium in Colombo on March 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ishara S. KODIKARA (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Nidahas Trophy: Team Of The Tournament

The Nidahas Trophy concluded in thrilling fashion with a tense encounter between India and Bangladesh. After being set 167 to claim the trophy, India, thanks to a last ball six from Dinesh Karthik, won by four wickets. Overall, it was an interesting tournament and it gave some young players a chance to shine on the world stage. In this article, I reflect back on the series and pick my team of the tournament.

1. Shikhar Dhawan (India)

Shikhar Dhawan once again excelled for India. The left-hander hit 198 runs at an average of close to forty with two fifties to his name. His 90 in the opening match remained the highest score in the tournament and Dhawan was India’s highest run-scorer in the competition. His striker rate of 145 meant that India were always quick out of the blocks and he was a vital cog in India’s success.

2. Rohit Sharma (India) (C)

It is an all-Indian opening partnership as Rohit Sharma claims the number two spot. The only other contender for this position was Tamim Iqbal of Bangladesh, but he scored fewer runs than Rohit and had a lower average and strike rate. Thus Rohit was the prime candidate for the other opening spot. Rohit scored 173 runs at an average close to 35 and led by example. Indeed, Rohit is the captain of this side for he took a young India side to a tournament victory against two other very talented sides.
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3. Kusal Perera (Sri Lanka)

The leading run-scorer in the competition, Kusal Perera was the only batsman to score over 200 runs in the tournament. What is even more impressive is the fact that he only played four matches, while India and Bangladesh both played five. Kusal hit three fifties in four innings, with a top of score of 74 (48) against Bangladesh in the third match. His scores of 66, 74, 3, 61 pay tribute to his unwavering consistency. Also, his incredible strike rate of over 158 was by far the highest out of any batsman to have crossed 100 runs. Kusal was the complete package this tournament.

4. Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh) (WK)

Musfiqur Rahim has been key to Bangladesh’s phenomenal rise in cricketing prowess and he led from the front in the Nidahas Trophy. Rahim ended as the competition’s second highest run-getter, short of the 200 run mark but a tantalisingly evasive one run. The keeper batsman had two scores of exactly 72*, as he went on to average 66. It was his unbeaten 72 off just 35 balls that helped Bangladesh to chase down 214 against Sri Lanka, for which he was rightly declared man of the match. He was by far Bangladesh’s standout performer in this tri-series.

5. Manish Pandey (India)

He may not be the most high-profile middle-order batsman, but Manish Pandey certainly gets the job done. The Kolkata Knight Riders star ended the tournament with the highest batting average, 67, and scored consistently despite never reaching the fifty mark. His 42* (31) in the fourth match against Sri Lanka was a particular highlight, which came when India were under serious pressure. While he did score freely, Pandey’s strike rate was on the lower side it must be said. He scored his 134 runs at a strike rate of sub 120, which was by far the lowest out of any batsman to have scored over 50 runs. Nevertheless, his consistency is what earns him a spot in this side.
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6. Mahmudullah (Bangladesh)

Bangladesh spin-bowling all-rounder Mahmudullah occupies the number six role in my Nidahas Trophy team of the tournament. Mahmudullah was Bangladesh’s fourth highest run scorer, but also contributed with the ball. His 96 runs, with a top score of 43*, came at an impressive strike rate in excess of 150. Mahmudullah’s economy rate of eight was also important and was the second most miserly Bangladeshi bowler, behind full-time spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz.

7. Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka)

The veteran Thisara Perera slots in at seven in this side and is certainly a handy all-rounder to have. Perera had an explosive time with the bat, finishing with 95 runs and an average of above 30. His blazing strike rate of 175 was the highest in the competition and his 58 (37) against Bangladesh was arguably one of the best innings in the tournament. Perera also contributed with the ball and picked up one wicket in the ten overs he bowled. His batting, though, is what mainly earns him a spot.

8. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh)

It is hard being a pace bowler in T20 cricket, particulalry on the flat subcontintent pitches. The majority of the quicks on display leaked runs, but Mustafizur Rahman was certainly one of the more economical seamers in the tournament. The “fizz” claimed seven victims in five matches (the joint most for a fast bowler) and went at 8.85 an over. While his economy may not seem inspiring, it was actually one of the best among the fast bowlers this tournament. Indeed, Rahman bowled two maidens, while no other bowler managed to bowl even one.
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9. Rubel Hossain (Bangladesh)

Partnering Rahman in the fast bowling unit is fellow Bangladesh quick Rubel Hossain. Like Mustafizur, Hossain was relatively economical as he went for 8.74 runs an over. When put in context of Shardul Thakur going at 9.02 and Nuwan Pradeep at over 10, it makes Hossain one of the standout fast bowlers. He also picked up seven wickets, putting him on a par with Jaydev Unadkat and Mustafizur. The Bangladesh quicks were by far the strongest.

10. Washington Sundar (India)

Indian off-spinner Washington Sundar, just 18 years of age, was perhaps the biggest revelation the tournament unearthed. Sundar, who initially made his name in the IPL, took eight wickets in five matches. This was the joint highest tally of wickets. However, it was his miserly economy rate that impressed the most. He was the only bowler to go at less than six an over, which is an incredible feat in the batsman-friendly game. It is clear that Sundar has a bright future ahead of him and he could be part of India’s limited overs set up for many years to come.

11. Yuzvendra Chahal (India)

Completing this Nidahas Trophy team of the tournament, we have Indian leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal at eleven. This is perhaps not that surprising. India on the whole fielded a second tier side, but Chahal is firmly one of the best limited overs bowlers in the world at the moment. It was hardly a shock to see him clean up. Chahal matched Sundar in his taking of eight wickets and only went at 6.45 an over. Thus, India were bound to win this competition when they had Chahal and Sundar wreaking havoc in the middle overs.

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