T20I bowling nominees January 3, 2017

Mitching it up

The Fizz, Big Bravo, and two New Zealanders with the same name star in our pick of the best T20I bowling performances of 2016
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Click here for the T20I batting shortlist

Mohammad Amir
3 for 18 v India
Asia Cup, Mirpur

Not that this fixture needed any more hype but a return from the international wilderness by Pakistan's prodigal fast-bowling hope gave it just that, and Amir did not disappoint, delivering an electric spell of swing and seam bowling. His opening over, which dismissed Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, must surely rank as one of the great T20 overs. High pace, vicious movement in the air and off the pitch and unerring accuracy gutted India's top order, leaving them 8 for 3, and in the end only a Virat Kohli special could turn the tide.

Kasun Rajitha
3 for 29 v India
first T20I, Pune

Few people knew much about Rajitha as he stood at the top of his mark on international debut against India, having been selected after a pre-match injury to Binura Fernando. Half an hour later, after he dismissed Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane in his first over and Shikhar Dhawan in his third, people were sitting up and taking notice. Rajitha's spell was exciting because it boasted the rarest of qualities from a Sri Lankan seamer: pace and bounce. On a surprisingly lively Pune pitch, he extracted significant movement off the track, getting Rahane with a nigh-on unplayable back-of-a-length snorter that was angled in but jagged away to take a leading edge.

Santner took the prized wickets of Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina in his four-for © AFP

Mitchell Santner
4 for 11 v India
World T20, Nagpur

India losing their opening match of the World T20 was a shock, but for it to be their second biggest defeat ever, to be bowled out for just 79 and to lose nine wickets to spin - that was almost incomprehensible. Santner was the star of this staggering result, as New Zealand, who left out Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan, were rewarded for their bravery and assessment of conditions. New Zealand's spinners tore through India's stellar batting order. Two of Santner's wickets were special: seeing Rohit advance down the pitch, Santner ripped one past his outside edge, and then, having found sharp turn away from Hardik Pandya, he fired in a flatter, quicker ball and trapped him lbw.

Mitchell McClenaghan
3 for 17 v Australia
World T20, Dharamsala

McClenaghan proved the depth of New Zealand's title challenge. After they spun India out in their first match, he carried them to victory in their second with an excellent display of fast bowling under pressure. Having taken the key wicket of Shane Watson in the Powerplay with a slower ball, McClenaghan returned at the death to derail Australia's chase of what appeared to be a below-par 143 in the penultimate over, removing Mitchell Marsh, again with a slower ball, and Ashton Agar. McClenaghan conceded just three runs from the 19th over to go with his two wickets, leaving Australia needing an improbable 19 runs off the last.

Ashwin went for just five an over in the thriller against Bangladesh © IDI/Getty Images

R Ashwin
2 for 20 v Bangladesh
World T20, Bangalore

A match that will always be remembered for the final three deliveries, in which Bangladesh, two runs short of a historic victory that would have eliminated India from the tournament, lost three wickets in three balls. It was largely due to Ashwin's brilliance earlier in Bangladesh's innings that the game was as close as it was. Defending a below-par 147, he bowled two overs in the Powerplay, conceding two off the first and dismissing Mohammad Mithun. The match was firmly in Bangladesh's hands after 12 overs, however, with 52 required from 48, at which point Ashwin bowled an outrageously good over, extracting lavish dip and extravagant turn. Shakib Al Hasan was caught at slip off a beautifully flighted wide ball before Soumya Sarkar's outside edge was beaten three times. Just one run came from the over and India's hopes were rekindled.

James Faulkner
5 for 27 v Pakistan
World T20, Mohali

Wickets slow the scoring. In this match, defending 194, Faulkner took five of them - four after the end of the 17th over - to set up a virtual quarter-final with India and eliminating Pakistan in the process. Faulkner's second, third and fourth wickets all fell to his cunning back-of-the-hand slower ball, as Pakistan, requiring more than 16 runs per over, swung for the hills. In his lone Powerplay over Faulkner removed the biggest danger to Australia's total - Sharjeel Khan, who was menacingly placed on 30 off 18 when he dragged onto his stumps.

Mustafizur's five-for against New Zealand was only the second by a Bangladesh bowler in a T20I © AFP

Mustafizur Rahman
5 for 22 v New Zealand
World T20, Kolkata

Mustafizur shot to fame in 2015 but his performances in the World T20 drew global attention and none were more impressive than this one against New Zealand. On a tired pitch he prised out five wickets, one an excellent set-up of Kane Williamson. After zipping two cutters past his outside edge, dragging him across his stumps to counter the cut, Mustafizur then beat him all ends up with a slower ball that was aimed at leg stump but cut away to uproot off stump behind Williamson's legs. Bowling over the wicket and pitching the ball on and around leg stump, he took all five of his wickets with cutters. New Zealand knew what was coming but Mustafizur was simply too good.

Chris Jordan
4 for 28 v Sri Lanka
World T20, Delhi

Central to England's run to the World T20 final was the bowling of Jordan, who became their go-to man under pressure. His full array of skills was cast into the spotlight in this humdinger against Sri Lanka, which took England into the semi-finals. Having taken 1 for 16 in the Powerplay, he returned to the attack in the 17th over with 40 required. Two excellent overs followed, in which Jordan conceded just 13 runs and removed Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka and Rangana Herath, to leave Ben Stokes with 15 to defend from the last.

Prize catch: in a match where 12.22 runs were scored off each over on average, Bravo conceded 9.25 (and took two wickets) © BCCI

Dwayne Bravo
2 for 37 v India
first T20I, Florida

Two for 37 doesn't seem all that special, but in this freak of a match it was. A flat pitch, small boundaries and a hefty tailwind came together to produce a batting paradise in Florida that an arsenal of power-hitters capitalised on: 489 runs were scored in 40 overs. Bravo was one of only two West Indies bowlers to concede fewer than ten runs per over, and only Kieron Pollard, who bowled three overs, conceded fewer boundaries. Having bowled one over in the Powerplay and a second in the middle, Bravo returned in the 18th and, in a match that had only had eight single-digit overs in 37 up until that point, proceeded to concede nine and six from his two overs, defending eight runs in the last over and two off the last ball. He also dismissed MS Dhoni off that final ball, to seal a scarcely believable victory.

Imad Wasim
5 for 14 v West Indies
first T20I, Dubai

Imad's five-for, which helped bowl West Indies out for 115 after their World T20 win and their series victory against India, proved that their power-hitting strategy was fallible. West Indies had lost just once in their preceding nine matches before they arrived in the UAE, but on low, slow pitches with big boundaries, they were whitewashed, as the accuracy and subtle skill of Pakistan's spinners, led by Imad, overturned the depth and power of their batting. Imad maintained a tight stump-to-stump line, relying on changes of pace and angle, and natural variations. Two of his four overs came in the Powerplay, in which he took 3 for 8, before returning in the middle overs to collect two more wickets.

Click here for the T20I batting shortlist

Freddie Wilde is a freelance T20 journalist. @fwildecricket

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfan95000573 on February 7, 2017, 10:35 GMT

    there is no one none but "The Fizz" if God keep him fit he will be a legendary bowler.

  •   Alokito Adhar on February 1, 2017, 19:15 GMT

    I would give more marks to Amir and Fizz than Santner. Santner did too good but that was a slow pitch. But Amir had a great comeback against their most known opponent. The Fizz was fabulous against a big team like NZ after recovering an injury during the tournament.

  • cricfan14809397 on January 31, 2017, 6:26 GMT

    The Fizz...... 5 wicket haul against New Zealand

  • cricfan88082887 on January 25, 2017, 8:24 GMT

    Amir the best choice followed by Imad Wasim

  • cricfan12079770 on January 20, 2017, 15:22 GMT

    1.Mustafiz 2.Amir 3.Faulkner...Doubtlessly Fizz is the best.

  • cricfan78122035 on January 18, 2017, 8:47 GMT

    1) Amir 2) Mustafiz 3) Faulkner

  •   espn69958477 on January 18, 2017, 7:44 GMT

    1) Mustafizur Rahman 2) Chris Jordan 3) Mitchell Santner

  • mahbub4149 on January 17, 2017, 18:13 GMT

    1.Mustafiz 2. Santner 3. Amir

  •   Subhransu Sekhar Sahoo on January 17, 2017, 13:05 GMT

    1) D Bravo 2) K Rajitha 3) m Santner 4)Imad

  • AjitPS on January 17, 2017, 12:12 GMT

    1) Amir 2) Imad 3) Santner/ Rajitha

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