As another year of some fascinating cricketing action in 2018 is about to end, the year saw some of the finest cricket matches unfold through the entire course of 365 days. It was a year that witnessed some great players who stood tall to grow in stature while some left a lasting impact with their first burst onto the scene.
The year saw a change in tide with a lot of teams securing Test victories on overseas soil. However, for the shortest version of the game, with the kind of unpredictability it supports, it once again posed a series of surprises over the year. With more experienced T20 players in the teams, T20Is became more intense, evoking a lot of interest amongst the fans.
T20Is were never short of entertainment as they came up with some nail-biting finishes with matches going down to the wire. While few teams continued their home dominance, some sprung up a surprise even in overseas conditions.
India and Pakistan continued to reign their supremacy while Sri Lanka witnessed a dismal year. The Australians clinched the Trans-Tasman T20I series but the Sandpaper Gate in March, saw their cricket go downhill. The Kiwis played limited T20Is with a mixed bag of results while England saw some consistent performances. Meanwhile, Afghanistan once again proved to be invincible against the low-ranked teams
Here's a look at the winner of the Sportskeeda Cricket Award for T20I Team of the Year 2018, along with the possible contenders:
It was an eventful and to an extent, most unforgettable year in the history of Australian cricket after what panned out after the Sandpaper Gate incident in March 2018. The phase of turmoil saw Australian cricket go down in pieces as bans were imposed while the administration saw a complete revamp to keep alive the trust among the supporters and the cricket fraternity.
Amidst this, their T20I performances this year makes them the third most successful T20I team of the year. In the 19 T20Is played in 2018, the Kangaroos emerged victorious on ten occasions. The highlight of the year saw them winning the Trans-Tasman T20 tri-series involving the BlackCaps and England in February 2018.
However, Australia faced tough times against Pakistan, losing five out of six games in the entire year, including a 3-0 clean sweep and a loss in the Tri-series final in Zimbabwe later on. Nevertheless, they ended the year by drawing level the 3-match T20I series 1-1 against India at home.
The Indian team witnessed a dream run in the T20I format of the game in 2018. The Men in Blue saw a winning streak of five consecutive T20I series in the year before drawing level their last T20I series affair against Australia 1-1. It was a year that brought glory with victories in the Nidahas trophy in Sri Lanka, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the final against Bangladesh.
The beginning of the year saw them defeating the Proteas 2-1 in a 3-match affair, while they continued to extend their dominance even in the UK, squaring up against Ireland and England.
Out of the 19 games played in the year, India secured a win in 14 games with one game ending without a result. Their only home T20I series against the Windies panned out to be a one-sided affair as Rohit Sharma guided his team to 3-0 clean sweep against a strong Windies line-up. It is because of such a great run, they are the No.2 ranked T20I side based on their performances in 2018.
#1 Pakistan (Sportskeeda T20I Team of the Year)
Pakistan once again proved their worth in the shortest version of the game. Despite the lack of cricket on their home soil, it is commendable to see such a fine lot of boys emerging to the fore. It is for this reason they are nearly unbeatable in this format of the game. Ranked No.1 in the world, the Men in Green proved too good for the rest of the teams in 2018.
In 19 games played this year, the Sarfaz-led side won on 17 occasions with just two losses against Australia and New Zealand. They have won every series they played this year. The highlight of the year was their rampaging show against Australia and Zimbabwe to claim the tri-series in Zimbabwe. They even clean swept the Aussies 3-0 in the home series to extend their unbeaten streak of consecutive T20I series wins under Sarfraz.
It is due to their invincible run that they are the runaway winner of the Sportskeeda Award for the T20I Team of the Year.