The top slot in the international Twenty20 rankings was just one win away but unfortunately Pakistan squandered that golden opportunity in their last T20 International of the year. It was in Dubai on December 13 that Pakistan lost the second game of the two-match rubber by 24 runs against Sri Lanka. Consequently the winners managed to retain the year-ending T20 top ranking after this 1-1 drawn rubber. Pakistan had won the first match by three wickets on Dec 11. The Pakistanis have never achieved the top ranking in any format of the game.
Pakistan and Kenya cricket teams spent a busy calendar year in the briefest format of the game. Both teams played 12 T20 Internationals each during the 12 months. Pakistan scripted eight victories and suffered defeats in four T20 encounters. Former T20 world champions India featured in just one T20 match during the entire year and the 2010 T20 World Cup finalists Australia tasted a single victory in their six outings.
Pakistan’s dashing opener Ahmed Shehzad finished the year as the most successful batsman with 347 runs followed by his captain M Hafeez, who accumulated 323 runs. Australia’s Aaron Finch struck the only century of the year. He hammered the biggest knock of the T20 history, against their arch-rivals England at Southampton on August 29.
The second biggest knock of the year was played by Pakistan’s Ahmed Shehzad, who hit unbeaten 98 against Zimbabwe at Harare.
In the bowling segment, Shem Ngoche of Kenya upstaged all the top bowlers of leading teams with 14 wickets.
For Pakistan, skipper Hafeez remained the most successful bowler with 12 scalps. It’s interesting to note that Pakistan’s senior pacer Umar Gul achieved the best bowling figures of the year and his career when he sent five South African batsmen back to pavilion for just six runs at Centurion in his only T20 International appearance of the year.
He was followed by veteran Shahid Afridi who scored 199 runs and grabbed 10 wickets.
South Africa’s young wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock grabbed the top honour behind the stumps, effecting 12 dismissals including four stumpings.
In the fielding department, the top three spots were taken by Kenyans -- Collins Obuya, RR Patel and HA Varaiya with 8, 7 and 6 catches, respectively.
In the penultimate game of the year, swashbuckling all-rounder Shahid Afridi became the first player of T20 Internationals to score 1,000 runs and take 50 wickets.