2021 has come to an end and this year has been of the shortest format. There were some quality T20I matches held in 2021. With so many bilateral series and the ICC T20 World Cup 2021, the level of T20I cricket was redefined. Australia managed to win the T20 World Cup final for the first time.
We witnessed top-notch team and individual performances that will be remembered forever. The matches took place one after another and each of them was as better as the others. Some extraordinary individual performers were all over the headlines. One of them was Mohammad Rizwan and the way he batted throughout the year.
Wanindu Hasaranga and Tabraiz Shamsi had a year to remember. Some teams having higher expectations underperformed whereas some underdogs stole the show. The format is very demanding and currently most popular one. Hopefully, the format will grow in upcoming fixtures.
Here are the best T20I matches of 2021:
10. Pakistan chased 204 in South Africa
A few times ago, a 200 runs were considered as a match-winning total in 20-over cricket but now the scenarios have changed. There is no safe total in the shortest format. Pakistan gave an example when they chased 204 with two overs to spare against South Africa.
In April 2021, during the third T20I, the hosts batted first and put a total of 203 on the board featuring good knocks from Aiden Markram and Janneman Malan. Markram scored 63 and Malan added 55 runs, while Rassie Van der Dussen also played a good cameo.
Babar Azam scored a classy 122 of just 59 deliveries, smashing 15 fours and four maximums. Rizwan also played a beautiful knock and remained not out on 73. Even in-form Tabraiz Shamsi was clueless in front of the Pakistani duo. Pakistan continued with this opening duo throughout the year.
9. Scotland upset Bangladesh
Bangladesh faced a defeat against Scotland in the ICC T20 World Cup. Scotland and Bangladesh faced each other in an encounter of Group B and Scotland enjoyed the victory while Bangladesh were quite embarrassed.
Scotland batted first and their opener Goerge Munsey played a decent knock, scoring 29 runs off 23 balls. The middle-order was flop but their number seven Chris Greaves went berserk and scored 45 runs in just 28 balls and got support in form of Mark watt and posted 140 on the board.
None from the Bangladeshi batting lineup looked comfortable. Brad Wheel from Scotland finished the game with good bowling figures of 3/24 in four overs. Mushfiqur Rahim protected one end but lacked support from the others. Bangladesh lost seven wickets in 20 overs and only managed to score 134 runs and lost the match by six runs.
8. Bangladesh won in a low scoring encounter against the Kiwis
Bangladesh had so many ups and downs in 2021 but they were very dominating on their home grounds. In September 2021, the New Zealand Cricket Team visited Bangladesh to play a bilateral T20I series. But despite being one of the best sides in the world, they were also in trouble on the spinning tracks.
In the fourth T20I of the series, a close encounter took place. And as it is said that low-scoring cricket games can be serious nail bitters, the same happened in that game. The Blackcaps batted first and with the help of Will Young’s patient innings, they somehow managed to put 93 runs on the board. Nasum Ahmad and Mustafizur Rahman bowled brilliantly picking four wickets each.
The target looked quite easy to achieve but the New Zealand bowlers kept things tight. The opener Mohammed Naim contributed a bit but he lacked the support from the other batters. The skipper Mahmudullah Riyad came to the rescue and scored an unbeaten 43 off 48 deliveries and Bangladesh won the game in the last over.
7. New Zealand won a high-scoring thriller against Australia
The famous Trans-Tasman rivalry always brings a cracker of games for the fans. Both New Zealand and Australia are top teams around the globe. Their players are very competitive in every format of cricket. The rivalry again took place when the mighty Aussies visited New Zealand to play a T20I series in February 2021.
In the second T20I of the series, both the team went berserk and the encounter ended in a high-scoring thriller where there was no help for the bowlers. New Zealand batted first and Martin Guptill started hitting from the start, the veteran T20 batter scored 97 runs off 50 balls. Kane Williamson and Jimmy Neesham also contributed and the final score was 219.
The Aussies also looked very charged and Josh Phillipe scored 45 off 32 and then came Marcus Stoinis, who swung the willow pretty nicely scoring 78 off 37 balls. At last, Daniel Sams showed some fireworks hitting 41 runs off just 15 balls. But the efforts went in vain as New Zealand sealed the match by four runs.
6. Australia thrashed Pakistan in T20 World Cup 2021 semi-final
Pakistan, who were unbeaten in the group stage, faced Australia in the semi-finals. And here the favorites to win the game were Pakistan but the story had a twist as they had to face a heartbreaking defeat losing in the last few moments of the match.
Pakistan batted first and Rizwan again took the charge and played a good innings scoring 67 off 52 balls his opening partner Babar Azam. Their number three Fakhar Zaman scored a fast 55 off 32 balls striking with a rate of 171.87.
Shaheen Shah Afridi picked a wicket on the third ball of the innings, dismissing the Aussie skipper Aaron Finch for a golden duck but David Warner controlled the innings and batted beautifully before getting dismissed on 49. Later in the innings, Marcus Stoinis played nicely but the hero was Matthew Wade.
When Australia needed 20 runs off 10 balls, Hassan Ali dropped a regulation catch of Wade and that was a blunder as he smashed the next three balls for maximums and won the game for Australia with an over to spare
5. India defeated England in a close clash
India played their first T20I series in 2021 against England in March 2021. It was expected that India will dominate the matches in India but England gave a tough fight and it was never easy for the hosts to conquer them easily. Nevertheless, India won the five-match T20I series by 3-2.
In the fourth game of the series, India went on to set a total for England and batted first. Suryakumar Yadav scored a 57 in his first international innings smashing six on the first ball of his international cricketing career. Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer played good cameos in addition to Surya’s fifty. Jofra Archer was on fire and had four wickets to his name in that game. India put a total of 185 on the board.
The fearless English opener Jason Roy looked in good touch and started scoring from the initial overs before getting dismissed by Hardik Pandya. Then Ben Stokes took the responsibility and started hitting at a rapid rate. But Shardul Thakur’s golden arm did the trick for India, as he picked three big wickets and Bhuvneswhar was good in the death overs. India restricted England for 177 runs and won the game by eight runs.
4. Zimbabwe defeated the in-form Pakistani side
Zimbabwe is a Test-playing nation and they have got the liberty to take part in Tests for a good time now. But their performances had serious downfalls in recent years. However, they at least had a good memory in 2021 when they defeated the Pakistani side in a T20I.
Zimbabwe batted first in the second T20i in Harare. Their batting was pretty ordinary as no one from their team looked comfortable throughout the innings. Tinashe Kamunhukamwe top-scored the innings scoring 34 runs with the addition of dome two-digit score by other Zimbabwe batters. They gave Pakistan a target of 119.
The batting of Zimbabwe was average but the Pakistani batters were under average. Luke Jongwe from Zimbabwe stole the show picking four wickets for only 18 runs. The skipper Babar Azam fought a bit but the other batters were flopping on that day. Pakistan got all-out for just 99 runs in 19.5 overs and Zimbabwe ended up being the winners.
3. Bangladesh bowled out Australia for 62
Australia were the champions of the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 but their performances in the bilateral series were very ordinary. Bangladesh thrashed Australia for 4-1 in the T20I series in August 2021. In the last T20I of the series Bangladesh completely dominated the Kangaroos and they were hopeless.
Bangladesh came to bat first but they were no impactful knocks from their batters in their innings. Everyone contributed some runs as Nathan Ellis and Dan Christian kept the things tight and the Aussie bowlers gave fewer opportunities to them to score and somehow they ended up with a fighting total of 122.
Then happened the Bangladeshi spin show as every Australian got trapped in the web formed the spinners. Wickets kept on falling at regular intervals. Shakib Al Hasan picked four wickets with an economy rate of 2.45. Saifuddin had three, Nasum had two, and one wicket was in the account of Mahmudullah. Australia got all-out for just 62 runs.
2. The cracker between South Africa and West Indies
In June 2021, South Africa visited the Caribbean islands to play a T20I series. The third game of the series went on to be a close encounter. In that series, South Africa defeated West Indies by 3-2. Every game of the series was a treat to watch but the third game was the most highlighted one.
RSA batted first and put 167 runs on the board, featuring a classy 72 by Quinton de Cock. Aiden Markram and Rassie Van Der Dussen also added some runs to the board. Obed McCoy was brilliant with the new ball and had four wickets to his name for 22 runs. The T20 legend DJ Bravo also bowled beautifully. South Africa’s final score was 167.
West Indies had several cameos in the form of Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, and Nicholas Pooran. The big man Andre Russell also started hitting the ball smashing three big sixes. But the star from the Proteas side was Tabraiz Shamsi who gave only 13 runs in his quota of four overs and picked two wickets. In the last over West Indies needed 15 runs and Rabada had the ball in hand who got hit a couple of times but managed to let South Africa win by a run.
1. The Pakistan-South Africa nail-bitter
In recent times, there not had been much cricket in the lands of Pakistan. But in February 2021, the South African Cricket Team toured Pakistan to play a T20I series. The very first match of the series was full of twists and turns. Both the teams were very charged up that day.
South Africa won the toss and asked the hosts to bat first. Mohammad Rizwan stole the show and played a superb innings scoring his maiden T20I century scoring 104 runs off 64 balls smashing seven sixes. Haider Ali played some good shots but there was a lack of support from the other batters due to which Pakistan scored only 169 runs despite a hundred from Rizwan.
The South African openers made a good partnership. Reeza Hendricks made a 54 and Janneman Malan scored 44 but middle-order of South Africa failed to contribute. However, Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius scored some quick runs. At that point of time, everyone thought South Africa will win this game. South Africa needed a six from the last ball to win but Fortuin was not able to connect the ball hence Pakistan won by three runs.