Cricket

Ranking the Top 50 T20 International Players of All Time

Tim CollinsFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2014

Ranking the Top 50 T20 International Players of All Time

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    Since rapidly ascending to prominence in 2005, Twenty20 cricket has evolved into a truly compelling and spectacular third act on the international stage.

    In less than a decade, a format that was once nothing more than a casual sideshow has morphed into a game that places a demand on players like no other form of the sport.

    Now, as we head into the fifth edition of the ICC World Twenty20, we use a statistical algorithm to determine the top 50 players to have graced the field over the nine-year history of the international T20 game.

Calculating the Rankings Step 1: Determining a Player's Role

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    Accumulated statistics form the basis of the statistical formula used to determine these rankings, but it's important to identify a player's true role before evaluating which statistics hold a relevance to each particular player.

    For instance, a strike bowler should be judged on his bowling statistics alone to prevent his ranking from being harmed by a handful on inconsequential low scores with the bat. The same should apply for a top-order batsman who bowls the odd over from time to time. 

    Therefore, each player is only judged by the statistics that apply to his given role in the side, with the bulk of players being assessed as purely batsmen or bowlers. 

    A player is only determined to be an all-rounder if he has batted at No. 8 or above in at least 66.66 percent of his matches, as well as having bowled in at least 66.66 percent of his matches.

    All other players are judged purely as batsmen and bowlers.

     

Calculating the Rankings Step 2: Points Allocation

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    As with all rankings systems, it was critically important to remove the heavy bias of opinion from these rankings by formulating an algorithm that could objectively evaluate the performances of each player.

    The first step in that process was to award points for each basic statistic accumulated by each player in all of the 361 T20Is that have been played.

    The points awarded for each basic statistic are listed below:

    PERFORMANCEPOINTS
    Runs1
    50s25
    100s50
    Wickets22.5
    4WIs40
    5WIs50

     

Calculating the Rankings Step 3: Rate of Performance

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    Given the time constraints inherent in Twenty20 cricket and its emphasis on the rate of scoring, it was vital that each player's accumulated statistics were measured against strike rates (for batsmen) and economy rates (for bowlers).

    To do this, it was necessary to establish a "par" measurement, by averaging the strike rates and economy rates of all players across every one of the 361 T20Is to ever be played.

     

    AVERAGE STRIKE RATEAVERAGE ECONOMY RATE
    117.487.34

     

    With those "par" numbers attained, each player had his statistics measured against the rate at which they were accumulated.

     

    Batting Examples:

    PLAYERBATTING PTSS/RPAR S/RRELATIVE S/RADJUSTED PTS
    Batsman 12000115.62117.480.98 (115.62/117.48)1968.3
    Batsman 21500141.81117.481.21 (141.81/117.48)1810.6

     

    Bowling Examples:

    PLAYERBOWLING PTSECONPAR ECONRELATIVE ECONADJUSTED PTS
    Bowler 110008.167.340.90 (7.34/8.16)899.5
    Bowler 28006.717.341.09 (7.34/6.71)875.1

     

    As you can see, performing this step ensures that quick scoring and tight bowling are rewarded, reflecting the standout factors that are inherent in Twenty20 cricket.

Calculating the Rankings Step 4: Adjusted Points Per Innings

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    The final step in the algorithm averages a player's Adjusted Points Total across the number of innings that are relevant to that player.

    This ensures that players are judged on a per-innings basis, rather than raw, accumulated totals.

    To do this, the Adjusted Points Totals from each player's batting and/or bowling statistics are divided by the number of innings to determine each player's Adjusted Points Per Innings.

     

    Example:

    PLAYERADJ BAT POINTSADJ BOWL POINTSINNINGSADJ PTS PER INNS
     Example1633.90386.045636.07

     

    For a player to qualify he must have:

    1) Represented his country on at least 20 occasions. 

    2) Competed against Test-playing nations in a minimum of 51 percent of his total T20Is.

Limitations of the Ranking Algorithm

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    Every statistical algorithm has its limitations and this one is no exception.

    However, it's important to outline the limitations that are inherent in this objective ranking system.

    1. The formula can't account for the match situation. Therefore, runs and wickets compiled in pressured situations don't carry more significance than those accumulated at other times.

    2. The system can only judge a player on the accumulated statistics identified in the points-allocation slide. For example, a bowler who goes wicketless in an impressive spell will receive fewer points than a bowler who claims two fortunate wickets in an otherwise loose spell.

    3. In using par-adjusted strikes rates, the algorithm cannot determine if a player was forced to operate in a defensive manner following the loss of wickets.

    4. The system can't account for the varying degrees of scoring that occur in different conditions and venues.

    5. By judging players on a per-innings basis, this system will inherently favour those who have competed in fewer innings, as it's easier to maintain higher levels of performance across shorter time periods.

    6. Another downfall of evaluating players on a per-innings basis is that all-rounders are hurt by their performances in a match representing two separate scores rather than one. 

50. Rohit Sharma

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    Team: India

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 29

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 24.78

    One of a wave of promising new Indian batsmen, Rohit Sharma has enjoyed a successful start to his career in the T20 arena.

    In just 29 innings, the elegant right-hander has charged his way to 539 runs at a strike rate of 127.12, racking up five fifties along the way.

    Now finally showing the sort of form that many had believed he was capable of from an early age, Sharma should charge up these rankings in the years to come.

49. Jade Dernbach

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    Team: England

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 28

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 25.00

    One of the most maligned players in the English game, it will come as a surprise to many that Jade Dernbach finds his way to the No. 49 spot in these rankings.

    However, from a strike-rate standpoint (which weighs heavily in this algorithm), Dernbach is up there with the best of them; his 35 wickets from 30 matches at 17.8 balls apiece reflecting his wicket-taking ability.

    Of course, it's the right-armer's inconsistency and expensive economy rate that frustrate viewers most, but his ability to accumulate points through wickets in this system sees the 27-year-old make a surprising appearance in this list.

48. Tim Southee

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    Team: New Zealand

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 32

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 25.12

    Tim Southee is currently enjoying a sustained run of success in international cricket alongside some impressive seam-bowling teammates.

    In the international Twenty20 arena, the right-armer is 14th leading wicket-taker, having claimed 39 wickets from only 33 matches with best figures of 5/18.

    If not for his expensive economy rate of 8.47, the Kiwi would find himself far higher up this list.

47. Umar Akmal

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    Team: Pakistan

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 49

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 25.44

    The second-highest Pakistani run-scorer in this format, Umar Akmal is possibly his nation's most stylish performer with the bat.

    In his 52 T20I appearances, the classy right-hander has amassed 1,093 runs at a strike rate of 120.94, featuring five electric fifties.

    Although the keeper-batsman has lost his way in the Test arena, he continues to be a valued middle-order player for his side in the limited-overs formats.

46. Brendan Taylor

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    Team: Zimbabwe

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 23

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 25.65

    Brendan Taylor will be an unfamiliar name to many, but the Zimbabwean batsman has been a powerful accumulator of runs for his nation, racking up 471 in only 23 matches at a strike rate of 121.39. 

    Don't be fooled into thinking those runs have come against sub-standard opposition either. They most certainly haven't.

    His four blistering fifties in this format have come against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, justifying his place on this list.

45. Harbhajan Singh

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    Team: India

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 24

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 25.73

    Despite being possibly the most divisive figure in the game, Harbhajan Singh was an extremely reliable limited-overs spinner for the bulk of his international career.

    From his 25 matches in this format, Harbhajan claimed 22 wickets at a superb economy rate of 6.36, with career-best figures of 4/12 destroying England in the 2012 ICC World T20. 

    While the off-spinner may have lost his place in the Indian side, it's unlikely his controversial career will ever be forgotten.

44. Michael Lumb

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    Team: England

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 21

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 26.08

    Michael Lumb has become a T20 specialist for England, regularly opening his team's innings in blistering fashion.

    Since making his debut in 2010, the attacking left-hander has hammered 432 runs at a strike rate of 134.16—one of the finest career marks in the world.

    Now established at the top of England's order, Lumb will be charged with the responsibility of firing his team towards massive totals in the upcoming World T20.

     

43. Mohammad Hafeez

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    Team: Pakistan

    Role: All-rounder

    Innings: 102

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 26.61

    It's staggering that Mohammad Hafeez has managed to be among both the top-10 run-scorers and wicket-takers in the history of this format.

    In 54 matches, Hafeez has piled on 1,250 runs at a strike rate of 118.48 to go along with 44 wickets at an economy rate of 6.61.

    While the Pakistani all-rounder would rank far higher in a subjective list, the sheer weight of innings to be accounted for and his somewhat subdued strike rate with both bat and ball leave him behind others in these rankings.

42. Salman Butt

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    Team: Pakistan

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 23

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 26.77

    One of a handful of players to owe his place on this list to consistency, Salman Butt will unfortunately be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

    Despite racking up 595 runs at an average of 28.33 in this format, the former captain will always be remembered for his infamous role in the spot-fixing scandal that marred Pakistan's tour to England in 2010.

    However, on a statistical basis, Butt finds his way onto this list thanks to a T20I career that saw only four single-figure scores across 23 innings.

41. Ahmed Shehzad

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    Team: Pakistan

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 22

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 26.84

    Pakistan's top order was once seen as extremely brittle, but thanks to Ahmed Shehzad that perception is beginning to change.

    While it's the ODI arena where Shehzad has truly blossomed recently, the right-hander's T20I career has also been impressive, seeing him work his way to 528 runs in only 22 matches with a glittering 98 not out standing out as his finest performance.

    More importantly for Pakistan, at 22 years of age, the talented batsman can only get better.

40. Stuart Broad

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    Team: England

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 51

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 26.89

    The fifth-highest wicket-taker in this format, Stuart Broad has proved to be as effective in the Twenty20 arena as he has been in the game's longer formats.

    Across 52 matches, the right-armer has claimed 61 wickets at a strike rate of 18.0.

    However, the England speedster is held back in these rankings because of an expensive economy rate of 7.56

39. Shahid Afridi

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    Team: Pakistan

    Role: All-rounder

    Innings: 134

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 27.09

    Like his teammate Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi is pushed down these rankings by the sheer volume of innings he's competed in as an all-rounder, as well as his infuriating inconsistency with the bat.

    While the explosive Afridi has claimed 73 wickets in his 70 T20Is, he's only managed to average 18.98 with the bat—the fourth-lowest mark among the top-50 scorers in this format.

    Although the per-innings rating helps to level the playing field for most, it unfortunately hurts this exciting all-rounder.

     

38. Daniel Vettori

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    Team: New Zealand

    Role: All-rounder

    Innings: 54

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 27.17

    Not all cricket observers would consider Daniel Vettori a true all-rounder, but his accumulated statistics in T20Is would certainly suggest he was. 

    In 33 matches, the New Zealander claimed 37 wickets at a sublime economy rate of 5.61, while also accumulating 205 runs from his 21 innings with the bat, a number of which saw Vettori assume a middle-order position.

    If judged purely as a bowler, Vettori would feature considerably higher on this list, but even as an all-rounder, the Kiwi finds himself among the world's top 50.

37. Jesse Ryder

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    Team: New Zealand

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 21

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 27.53

    Now recovered from an assault that threatened to terminate his international career, Jesse Ryder has resumed his usually aggressive ways with the bat in national colours.

    While his T20I career has been a short one to date, the left-hander has crashed his way to 457 runs at a strike rate of 127.65.

    With New Zealand appearing like a team on the rise, Ryder could become a genuine star in the years ahead.

36. Imran Nazir

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    Team: Pakistan

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 24

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 27.56

    Imran Nazir's T20I career may have been relatively short-lived, but it was undoubtedly explosive while it lasted.

    Across his 25 matches, the right-handed Pakistani smashed 500 runs at a colossal strike rate of 135.13; his 72 from only 36 balls against Bangladesh in 2012 unquestionably his finest performance.

    However, with Pakistan's top order now possessing a sense of continuity, Nazir looks unlikely to regain his place.

35. Jacques Kallis

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    Team: South Africa

    Role: All-rounder

    Innings: 42

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 27.59

    While Jacques Kallis is one of the finest cricketers of all time, the Twenty20 revolution peaked towards the latter stages of the mighty all-rounder's career, leaving him sitting lower in these rankings that what might have been possible.

    Despite never being particularly suited to the electric pace of the T20 game, Kallis managed to put together 666 runs at a superb average of 35.05 with five fifties.

    However, an ability to consistently strike with the ball and a somewhat expensive economy rate of 7.23 hurts him against others in the list.

     

34. Lasith Malinga

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    Team: Sri Lanka

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 50

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 27.89

    Because of unrivalled ability to produce next-to-unplayable reverse-swinging yorkers, Lasith Malinga is regarded by many as one of the finest bowlers in the Twenty20 arena.

    Yet, somewhat curiously, the statistics don't back-up that belief. 

    While the slingy right-armer's strike rate of 17.5 is comparable to those around him, his economy rate of 7.37 is the second-worst mark among the top-13 wicket-takers in this format, leaving Malinga far lower on this list than one might have expected.

33. Mitchell Johnson

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    Team: Australia

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 30

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 28.73

    While Mitchell Johnson's recent Test resurgence is possibly the greatest cricketing comeback of all time, the lethal left-armer has always been a valuable limited-overs performer.

    In 30 matches in the international T20 arena, the 32-year-old has claimed 38 wickets at 20.97, going wicketless on only seven occasions. 

    With his pace and bounce forcing batsman to think twice about pushing forward, Johnson's performances at the World T20 in Bangladesh could well define Australia's campaign at the tournament.

32. Eoin Morgan

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    Team: England

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 41

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 29.08

    Endlessly innovative and crafty, England's Eoin Morgan has grown to become his side's most versatile performer on the T20I stage.

    With 964 runs at a strike rate of 131.15 from his 42 matches, the left-hander has entrenched himself as one of the world's finest middle-order T20 players.

    However, Morgan's burden has been increased with the recent departure of Kevin Pietersen from England's setup, which may force Morgan to take on a slightly altered role to the one that has made him such a valuable contributor.

31. Shane Bond

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    Team: New Zealand

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 20

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 29.49

    Shane Bond's stunted career is a tail of what could have been.

    At one point, the emphatic speedster appeared capable of hauling New Zealand into the upper echelon of limited-overs cricket; his scintillating displays seeing him 25 wickets in only 20 matches at a strike rate of 18.6.

    However, Bond's career was unfortunately cut short by injury, leaving New Zealand's most exciting prospect in years as an unfulfilled phenomenon.

30. Tillakaratne Dilshan

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    Team: Sri Lanka

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 54

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 29.91

    The third most prolific run-scorer in this format, and one of only nine men to score a T20I century, Tillakaratne Dilshan should feature far higher in these rankings.

    With 1,320 runs at an average of 29.33, the veteran right-hander has been among the leading batsmen in the international Twenty20 arena.

    However, with a strike rate of 120.87, Dilshan sits behind many of the leading batsmen on this list, which is a key criteria in this algorithm. 

29. Morne Morkel

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    Team: South Africa

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 36

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 30.17

    Morne Morkel's searing pace and bounce have proved to be valuable weapons in Twenty20 cricket, with the South African having claimed 43 wickets in his 36 T20I appearances.

    With an impressive strike rate of 17.8 and an equally respectable economy rate of 7.08, Morkel is one of a handful of bowlers who have proved that the game's shortest format isn't just a batsman's domain.

    South Africa will be hoping that the giant speedster can harness his intimidatory qualities in order to become a force at the upcoming World T20. 

28. Cameron White

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    Team: Australia

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 38

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 30.49

    There's nothing subtle about Cameron White's performances in T20 cricket, but the brutally powerful Victorian has forged a fantastic career through sheer force.

    In his 41 matches in Australian colours, White has thumped 886 runs at a blistering strike rate of 134.65, which have included five rapid fifties. 

    If Australia are to claim their first World T20 trophy, the right-hander's savage best will be required.

     

27. JP Duminy

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    Team: South Africa

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 44

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 30.72

    No South African has more T20I runs than JP Duminy, and—occasional performers asidenone have scored them at a better average either.

    A beacon of consistency in his team's middle order, Duminy has raced his way to 1,142 runs at a strike rate of 122.92 from only 44 innings with the bat.

    While some of his teammates continue to garner more attention, the left-handed Duminy has become one of the world's best.

26. George Bailey

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    Team: Australia

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 19

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 30.95

    Much like his short but blossoming career in ODIs, George Bailey's tenure in the Australian T20 team has produced outstanding results.

    Despite only representing his country on 20 occasions, the right-hander has stormed to 421 runs at a thunderous strike rate of 146.68.

    In his two most recent innings, he showed why he's one of the world's premier limited-overs players by smashing 109 combined runs from only 48 deliveries to annihilate a miserable England.

25. Gautam Gambhir

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    Team: India

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 36

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 31.15

    Gautam Gambhir was one of India's most consistent limited-overs performers prior to the emergence of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma at the top of the team's order.

    Across 37 matches in the T20I arena, Gambhir amassed 932 runs with seven fifties at an average of 27.41.

    However, a lack of brute force in comparison with his successors has seen the stylish left-hander slide down the pecking order in India.

24. Michael Hussey

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    Team: Australia

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 30

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 31.75

    Perhaps the greatest late bloomer of them all, Michael Hussey is one of the greatest ever Australian cricketers in limited-overs formats.

    In T20Is, the incredibly consistent left-hander piled on 721 runs at an impressive average of 37.94. As a finisher of an innings he was truly magnificent, scoring his runs at a rate of 136.29 and helping to steer Australia to countless wins.

    However, Hussey finds himself lower in these rankings than he should because of his regularly low position in the order, which saw him complete a substantial collection of very brief appearances.

     

23. Kumar Sangakkara

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    Team: Sri Lanka

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 48

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 31.84

    Whichever the format, Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara relentlessly racks up the runs like few others.

    In T20Is, the prolific left-hander has been as reliable as always, compiling 1,311 runs from 48 innings at an average of 32.77 to anchor the world's No. 1 T20 outfit.

    However, like Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sangakkara's strike rate of 120.82 is down a rung from the world's most explosive batsmen, leaving him further down this list than anticipated.

22. Shakib Al Hasan

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    Team: Bangladesh

    Role: All-rounder

    Innings: 56

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 32.07

    Simply put, Shakib Al Hasan is the finest cricketer Bangladesh has produced to date.

    A stylish left-handed batsman and an extremely effective left-arm spinner, the former captain has cruised to 566 runs and 36 wickets in the T20 game, doing so from a mere 28 appearances.

    Equally impressive is his strike rate with the bat, which at 127.76, exceeds many of the esteemed batsmen that have come before him so far on this list.

     

21. Hamilton Masakadza

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    Team: Zimbabwe

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 28

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 32.98

    Zimbabwe's most consistent performer, Hamilton Masakadza is a little fortunate to find himself in such a lofty position in these rankings.

    Owning his ranking to consistency, Masakadza has compiled 767 runs with seven fifties from 28 matches, cashing in on the added points for reaching milestones in this formula.

    However, with his highest score of 79 having been achieved against Canada, it would be fair to say the Zimbabwean is a beneficiary of the algorithm used.

20. Abdur Razzak

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    Team: Bangladesh

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 28

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 34.51

    Another of Bangladesh's long line of left-arm orthodox spinners, Abdur Razzak has been a consistent threat during his international limited-overs career, evident by his 39 wickets in just 28 T20Is. 

    Taller than the average spinner and the owner of an unusually high action, the 31-year-old enjoyed a blistering start to his T20I career, carrying on a similar vein since. 

    Indeed, Razzak's record is exemplary, having claimed his wickets at a strike rate of 16.3 and an economy rate of 6.97.

19. Suresh Raina

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    Team: India

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 33

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 34.61

    A poor run of recent form has Suresh Raina battling for his place in the Indian side at present, but his career record suggests he's one of the nation's best.

    With 859 runs at a strike rate of 136.34, Raina's performances in T20 cricket are rivalled by few of his compatriots. 

    The aggressive left-hander is also the only Indian to score a century in this format, having done so in spectacular fashion against South Africa in 2010.

18. Graeme Swann

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    Team: England

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 38

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 34.85

    Graeme Swann's retirement hasn't only hurt England's Test team. His absence in T20Is quells his nation's potential threat as well.

    Of course, the off-spinner is more renowned for his feats in white clothing, yet his record in the game's shortest format is simply outstanding; his tally of 51 wickets from 38 appearances at a strike rate of 15.8 and economy rate of 6.36 among the very finest.

17. Martin Guptill

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    Team: New Zealand

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 41

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 35.39

    Martin Guptill is often forgotten when considering the finest limited-overs batsmen in the world, but his T20I record would suggest he's up there with the best.

    Despite often playing second fiddle to his captain, Guptill has crashed his way to 1,194 runs at a world-class average of 34.11. That he's done so at a strike rate of 124.50 and has added an elusive century as well only further enhances his position.

16. Shane Watson

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    Team: Australia

    Role: All-rounder

    Innings: 71

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 36.22

    Of all players, Shane Watson is perhaps the most unfortunate victim of the algorithm used to determine these rankings.

    Although his form in white clothing continues to be indifferent, Watson is a genuine force in the T20 game. With 1,032 runs at an absurd strike rate of 149.56, the Australian is arguably the most dangerous batsman on the planet in this format.

    However, because Watson has bowled in 85 percent of his matches, he's grouped as an all-rounder, which leaves his economy rate of 7.43 with the ball to hurt his overall ranking.

15. Graeme Smith

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    Team: South Africa

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 33

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 36.42

    Being a consistent top-order batsman is a sure-fire way to find oneself high up in these rankings, and Graeme Smith was exactly that.

    In 33 innings, the South African captain reached double-figures on 29 occasions, putting together 982 runs at an average of 31.67 with five fifties.

    The powerful left-hander was at his best earlier in his T20 career when he set the world alight with three rapid fifties in his opening five innings in this format.

14. Mahela Jayawardene

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    Team: Sri Lanka

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 49

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 36.94

    The third in a trio of extremely prolific Sri Lankan batsmen, Mahela Jayawardene has enjoyed the most significant T20I success of the three.

    The second-highest run-scorer in the history of the international T20 arena, the Sri Lankan captain has crunched 1,335 runs at a strike rate of 134.17 with one century and eight fifties.

    Now in the twilight of his career, Jayawardene will be desperate to add another World T20 crown when his team heads to Bangladesh for the 2014 edition of the tournament.

13. Sunil Narine

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    Team: West Indies

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 23

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 37.78

    For English fans who weren't already aware, Sunil Narine has proved precisely why he's one of the world's best limited-overs bowlers during England's current visit of the Caribbean. 

    In only 23 matches, the West Indian finger-spinner has claimed 29 wickets at an extraordinary economy rate of 5.85, including career-best figures of 4/12.

    While his team continues to languish in Test cricket, Narine is one of the West Indies' key components in a far more successful T20 outfit.

12. Marlon Samuels

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Team: West Indies

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 26

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 38.25

    Marlon Samuels has always been viewed as an unfulfilled talent in Test cricket, but in the T20 game, the right-hander has been both consistent and explosive.

    From his 27 innings in this format, Samuels has reached seven fifties on his way to 733 runs at a strike rate of 129.50 and superb average of 31.86.

    The West Indian also appears to be getting better with age, as four of his milestones have been reached in the most recent 18 months.

11. David Warner

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    Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

    Team: Australia

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 46

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 38.56

    From the moment he burst onto the scene with a thunderous 89 on debut against South Africa in 2009, David Warner has been spectacular for Australia in the T20 game.

    While 10 fifties and 1,300 runs may sound impressive, it's the left-handers enormous strike rate of 139.93 that sets Warner apart from so many others.

    Given that the New South Welshman is currently in the best form of his career, Warner's performances at the upcoming ICC World T20 will go a long way to shaping Australia's success in the tournament. 

10. Dale Steyn

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Team: South Africa

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 33

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 38.57

    Dale Steyn will undoubtedly go down as one of the world's greatest fast bowlers, and his performances in T20 cricket have been equally as emphatic as his form in Tests.

    In his 33 matches, the lethal right-armer has claimed 46 scalps at an impeccable economy rate of 6.20 and a strike rate of 15.2.

    In a batsman-dominated format, Steyn's excellence has been exceptional.

9. Umar Gul

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    Gallo Images/Getty Images

    Team: Pakistan

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 52

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 39.10

    With the second-best strike-rate (14.1) among the leading bowlers in T20Is, Umar Gul comfortably finds himself among esteemed quality in this list. 

    Across his 52 appearances, the Pakistani right-armer has rattled along to 74 wickets at an average of 16.44, restricting batsman to 6.95 runs-per-over in the process.

    The speedster has also claimed more four and five-wicket hauls than any other bowler in this format, helping to push him into the top 10 in these rankings.

8. Alex Hales

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    Stu Forster/Getty Images

    Team: England

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 25

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 39.50

    Since making his debut in 2011, England's Alex Hales has quickly established himself as one of the world's best T20 batsmen.

    A record that boasts 752 runs at 34.18 with a strike rate of 133.09 is unquestionably among the finest records put together in the short history of T20Is.

    At just 25 years of age, England will also be hoping there's plenty more to come from the explosive Hales.

7. Saeed Ajmal

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    Francois Nel/Getty Images

    Team: Pakistan

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 58

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 40.08

    Like he's done in both the Test and ODI arenas, Saeed Ajmal is quickly making up for lost time in the T20 game.

    Across 59 matches, the late bloomer has raced to a world-leading 81 wickets, while operating at a miserly economy rate of 6.26.

    In conjunction with Umar Gul, Ajmal will ensure that Pakistan will be among the favourites to claim the World T20 in Bangladesh.

6. Virat Kohli

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    Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

    Team: India

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 19

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 40.15

    It feels as though almost every batting record is at Virat Kohli's mercy, such is his ongoing obliteration of every obstacle put before him.

    In T20Is, the Indian superstar has been incredible in scorching 587 runs from only 19 innings at a strike rate of 130.44.

    Almost certain to takeover the captaincy from MS Dhoni on a full-time basis in the near future, Kohli already appears destined to become one of India's all-time greats.

     

5. Yuvraj Singh

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    Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

    Team: India

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 32

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 42.47

    There have been others who have proved to be more prolific, but none have been more explosive than India's Yuvraj Singh.

    Of course, 868 runs at an average of 33.38 in T20Is is outstanding by any measure, but when they're trashed at a strike rate of 153.08, it's all the more compelling.

    While he can be a bit more hit-or-miss than others on this list, Yuvraj's hitting ability is almost unrivalled on the international stage.

4. Brendon McCullum

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    Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

    Team: New Zealand

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 63

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 43.21

    The world's leading T20I run-scorer and the only man to score two hundreds in the format, Brendon McCullum is a true powerhouse of the game. 

    Averaging an outstanding 36.27, the New Zealand captain has blasted his 1,959 runs at a strike rate of 135.57 to reach more batting milestones than any other player.

    Although New Zealand still retain their underdog status, anything is possible with the nation's blistering right-hander at the top of the order.

3. Kevin Pietersen

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    Julian Herbert/Getty Images

    Team: England

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 36

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 45.20

    Fans who lament the ECB's decision to axe Kevin Pietersen have every right to feel aggrieved, given that the explosive right-hander has the best average among the top 57 run-scorers in T20Is. 

    At 37.93, Pietersen's average is testament to his extraordinary consistency in the game's shortest form, further enhanced by the fact that his 1,176 runs have been thumped at a strike rate of 141.51.

    How England plan on replacing Pietersen is nigh on impossible to envisage. 

2. Chris Gayle

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Team: West Indies

    Role: Batsman

    Innings: 35

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 46.68

    When people think of the best T20 batsmen, they invariably place Chris Gayle at the top of the pile.

    The brutal West Indian's record certainly justifies that tendency, with his 1,096 runs in this format coming at a colossal strike rate of 140.33.

    Gayle also sits behind only McCullum in terms of milestones reached (one hundred and 10 fifties), despite playing considerably less matches than many other prolific batsmen on this list.

1. Ajantha Mendis

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    Gareth Copley/Getty Images

    Team: Sri Lanka

    Role: Bowler

    Innings: 36

    Adjusted Points Per Innings: 53.45

    They say T20 cricket is a batsman's game, but Ajantha Mendis proves that it's considerably more than that.

    While the Sri Lankan is a surprise No. 1, he's the clear standout from a purely statistical perspective.

    With 62 wickets in his 36 appearances and best figures of 6/8, no one can match the deceptive spinner for strike rate (13.2); a stat further enhanced by an economy rate as tight as 6.16.

    If ever there was proof of how effective spin bowling has become in limited-overs cricket, Mendis is the prime example.

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