Match of the tournament
At their best, England were the most convincing team on display, but by the semi-final they had been weakened by injuries – what might Jason Roy have achieved with the 17 balls from which an out-of-sorts Jonny Bairstow scored a scratchy 13? – and then they lost the toss and, batting first, fell under New Zealand’s spell, scoring too slowly to set a genuinely daunting total. Still they nearly won, and after a brilliant 16th over from Liam Livingstone that cost three runs and included the wicket of Glenn Phillips (celebrated by the bowler as if it had actually decided something), New Zealand needed 57 from 24 balls. Jimmy Neesham and Daryl Mitchell got there in 18.
Shot of the tournament
The first of Asif Ali’s barrage of sixes off Karim Janat. When your team needs 24 off two overs, as Pakistan did against Afghanistan, both batsmen having faced a single delivery and one of them actually turning down a run because they think they ought to keep the strike, they had damn well better deliver. Asif hit four sixes off the next four balls. An awesome display of cool and quality under the most extreme pressure.
Catch of the tournament
The standard of fielding has been superb but Akeal Hosein’s catch, curtailing his follow-through to dive to his left and pluck a well-struck ball from the air with a single outstretched hand to dismiss Liam Livingstone, during West Indies’ encounter with England, was exceptional. Elsewhere England came first and second in the relay race; Jason Roy and Sam Billings combining to get rid of Sri Lanka’s Wanindu Hasaranga while Jonny Bairstow and Livingstone’s joint effort to get rid of Jimmy Neesham in the semi-finals would have beaten the lot had Bairstow’s knee not caught the boundary padding before he could get rid of the ball.
Best bowler of the tournament
Across the tournament, Shaheen Shah Afridi cemented his reputation as the Erling Haaland of cricket: young, physically daunting and almost unfairly talented. Often the new ball would swing for only one over and Shaheen could make it move like nobody else. Adam Zampa is the other obvious candidate, but when Shaheen had the ball in his hands at the top of an innings there was nowhere else to look, nowhere better to be. His opening barrage against India was spectacular, but he improved on it in the semi-final, dismissing Aaron Finch, getting about a centimetre away from trapping Mitch Marsh lbw next ball, and a couple of inches from bowling him with a booming inswinger the next.
The good-player-in-a-bad-team award
Of the teams that made it out of the first group stage, only Sri Lanka managed to beat a pre-qualified team in the Super 12s, while Bangladesh and Scotland finished, and often looked, pointless. But hidden in the Scottish lineup was one of the quiet stars of the tournament in Mark Watt, the left-arm spinner whose displays proved he belongs on a bigger stage than he generally gets to tread. Just ask eventual finalists New Zealand, who by a distance found it harder to score against Watt than any other bowler in the tournament.
Rising star of the tournament
“He’s a gem and he’s a superstar in the making,” said Sri Lanka’s captain, Dasun Shanaka of teammmate Hasaranga, and the 24-year-old certainly seems to be the full package. With the ball he has control and variation (albeit with a few extra matches to do so having come through the first group stage) and he took more wickets than anyone else in the competition, including 10 in four games against the pre-qualified teams in their Super 12s group, a hat-trick against South Africa and three for just nine runs against the Netherlands. He also scored a 47-ball 71 against Ireland and an outstanding 21-ball 34 against England, and even though in just over half of his 27 T20 international innings he has got out for a single-figure score (or nothing at all) it seems there is some serious batting talent there too.