Cricket365's Team of the CLT20

Blog Opinion

Ajinkya Rahane dominated at the top of the order and Jimmy Neesham made for a surprising backbone, while Pravin Tambe showed that age is just a number in the bowling department.

<b>1. Ajinkya Rahane (Rajasthan Royals)</b><br><i>Close, but no: Shikhar Dhawan (Sunrisers Hyderabad)</i><br>Big match temperament of the highest order served the hard-hitting opener very well through the business end of the tournament, and all but booked the 2013 CLT20's top run-scorer a berth in India's squad for next year's World Twenty20.

<b>2. Dwayne Smith (Mumbai Indians)</b><br><i>Close, but no: Henry Davids (Titans)</i><br>Mumbai's opening combination has long been a vessel for rotation, but this year found a solid constant in Smith, who was deservedly named Player of the Series. His ability to adjust to the conditions at the Feroz Shah Kotla was instrumental.

<b>3. Suresh Raina (Chennai Super Kings)</b><br><i>Close, but no: Evin Lewis (Trinidad and Tobago)</i><br>Murali Vijay's poor stretch of form often saw Raina at the crease sooner than ideal, with the cool, calm and collection of the talented left-hander rising to challenge on almost every occasion. His part-time spin, too, had its place.

<b>4. Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians, captain)</b><br><i>Close, but no: Rahul Dravid (Rajasthan Royals)</i><br>Tipped as a future national captain, Sharma bolstered his credentials with a title-winning campaign. His management of a team lined with veterans, the inexperienced and a handful of overseas recruits was exemplary.

<b>5. Jimmy Neesham (Otago Volts)</b><br><i>Close, but no: Ryan ten Doeschate (Otago Volts)</i><br>From the qualifying precursor to the tournament proper, the all-rounder maintained a superb stretch of form with bat and ball – and showed exactly what the national selectors see in him ahead of a testing tour of Bangladesh.

<b>6. Sanju Samson (Rajasthan Royals, wicketkeeper)</b><br><i>Close, but no: Parthiv Patel (Sunrisers Hyderabad)</i><br>Samson wasn't the Royals' first-choice wicketkeeper throughout, but was strong enough to be chosen as a specialist batsman too – and duly obliged, particularly in the final. His quickfire vigil, however, went in vain.

<b>7. Dwayne Bravo (Chennai Super Kings)</b><br><i>Close, but no: Kevon Cooper (Rajasthan Royals)</i><br>The consummate professional, the West Indian all-rounder again looked after the needs of his Indian franchise to a lengthy extent. The ball, rather than the bat, was his more successful weapon of choice this time.

<b>8. Ian Butler (Otago Volts)</b><br><i>Close, but no: Ravi Rampaul (Trinidad and Tobago)</i><br>Conditions across India were far from conducive for seamers, but the experienced Butler extracted threatening carry and zippy pace – for the most part. The right-armer was largely the Yin to left-armer Neil Wagner's Yang.

<b>9. Sunil Narine (Trinidad and Tobago)</b><br><i>Close, but no: Pragyan Ojha (Mumbai Indians)</i><br>Top of the pile in the International Cricket Council's rankings for Twenty20 International bowlers, the spinner lived up to his billing at domestic level, and earned a lucrative contract with the Cape Cobras for it.

<b>10. Pravin Tambe (Rajasthan Royals)</b><br><i>Close, but no: Nick Beard (Otago Volts)</i><br>A mere handful of days before his 42nd birthday, the talented leg-spinner proved age, indeed, is just a number. What started with promise against the Lions, continued with success against Chennai, and ended in disappointment against Mumbai for the tourney's top wicket-taker.

<b>11. Nathan Coulter-Nile (Mumbai Indians)</b><br><i>Close, but no: Marchant de Lange (Titans)</i><br>Lumped with Mitchell Johnson and Glenn Maxwell, Coulter-Nile had a lot to prove in holding up his third of the Australian trinity at Mumbai – and did so with maturity beyond his 25 years. That spell against Trindiad and Tobago almost single-handedly put the eventual champions in the final.