When you finish as the year’s leading run-getter in T20Is, with a top score of 125 not out from 62 balls, you clearly have done a lot right. Lewis was inconsistent, as scores of 10, 3, 7, 26, 25 and 19 underline, but each time he crossed 50 West Indies won. His 51-ball 91 clinched a seven-wicket win over Pakistan, with West Indies down 0-2 and needing a win to stay alive; a 28-ball 51 set up victory over England during a disappointing tour; and that aforementioned century completed a chase of 191 with nine balls left, leaving India looking dazed. Lewis’ 31 sixes in 2017 were the most by a mile.
2 Colin Munro M 8 I 8 Runs 277 HS 109* Avg 39.57 SR 163.90 100×2 50×1 6×17
The big-hitting New Zealander’s scores last year were 0,101,0,0,7,109*, 7 and 53. Three ducks, two bullish centuries and a brisk half-century. Inconsistent? You could say that, but two T20I centuries in a year is something special. The first formed a huge slice of New Zealand’s 195/7 against Bangladesh, with Munro almost single-handedly driving the score from 0/1, 42/2 and 46/3 to 169/4 in 16.4 overs before he was out. The second hundred stunned India and gave the visitors a 40-run win, massive by T20I standards. Munro’s 17 sixes were second to Lewis.
3 Babar Azam M 10 I 10 Runs 352 Avg 39.11 SR 119.72 50×1 6×4
Just one fifty for the talented young Pakistan batsman, who finished 2017 second to Lewis in the overall run tally, but that does not take away from his success. He propped up Pakistan with four key innings as West Indies were beaten 3-1, and then headlined a 2-1 win over a World XI as high-profile International cricket made a successful return to Pakistan.
4 Shoaib Malik M 10 I 10 Runs 273 HS 51 Avg 45.50 SR 144.44 50×1 6×11
The most successful No 4 in 2017. Key contributions to series wins over West Indies, the World XI and Sri Lanka (he was Player of the Series in the 3-0 sweep). Eleven sixes, 21 fours and three catches. At 35, Malik remains a live wire and someone whom Pakistan rely on a lot.
5 MS Dhoni (wk) M 13 I 12 Runs 252 HS 56 Avg 42 SR 138.46 Ct 6 St 7
Debates about his place in India’s T20I side rage on, but Dhoni slots into our list without much fuss. He is 2017’s leading wicketkeeper with 13 dismissals, and 252 runs at a strike-rate of 138.46 show that he’s not slowed down that much. Dhoni remained an important fixture in India’s middle order, but more than that his was unparalleled glovework behind the stumps that singled him out.
6 Carlos Brathwaite (capt) M 10 I 6 Runs 117 HS 37* SR 120.61 W 14 BB 3/20 Econ 7.18 SR 12.6
The captain of a West Indian team that won six of ten T20Is in 2017 also gets our nod as skipper. Brathwaite was the joint fourth most successful bowler of the year, striking once every two overs while conceding runs at a very respectable 7.18 for someone of his pace. His 3/20 in a one-off game in England was crucial to victory.
He batted only six times, and twice averted crisis for West Indies to get them to double-digits scores.