Who has been the best so far in cricket’s newest format? You get to decide | ESPNcricinfo.com

Another exciting set of match-ups in the round of 16. The player with more votes in each match-up progresses to the quarter-finals.
Note: Voting closes at 6.30am GMT on Friday, April 24. Kindly reload the page if the polls don’t load for you automatically.
MS Dhoni v Virat Kohli
MS DhoniRuns 6621 Ave 39.88 SR 135.62Catches as keeper 165 Stumpings 83
MS Dhoni marshalled a young group with very little international pedigree to the inaugural T20 World Cup title back in 2007. In that high-pressure final against Pakistan, Dhoni punted on Joginder Sharma to bowl the final over. The move worked, and there was no stopping the advent of the IPL after that. The Chennai Super Kings shelled out US$ 1.5 million to get Dhoni on board in the inaugural IPL auction. He soon established himself as Chennai’s thala, leading them to titles in 2010, 2011 and 2018 – when they returned after a two-year suspension. Under Dhoni’s captaincy, Super Kings have made it to the knockouts in all ten seasons of the IPL they have played in. Despite usually batting lower down the order, Dhoni is the seventh-highest scorer in the IPL, with 4432 runs at an average of 42.20 and a strike rate just under 138. Dhoni has also effected the most dismissals as a keeper in both the IPL and in T20Is. Dhoni is the most experienced captain in the format, and that came to the fore when he and Hardik Pandya denied Bangladesh in the 2016 T20 World Cup. Even as T20 continues to evolve into a data-driven sport, Dhoni continues to defy analytics and conventional T20 cricket wisdom with his instincts.
Virat KohliRuns 8900 Ave 41.92 SR 134.56
The only player to average over 40 among those with 5000-plus T20 runs, Virat Kohli’s success is down to a solid technique combined with a batting philosophy that minimises the risk factor. That average moves to over 50 in T20Is, a format where he’s the top run-scorer. He’s also the most prolific run scorer in the IPL, and starred in the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 2011 and 2016 campaigns, where they reached the final. The 2016 season saw the RCB captain – a role he took over before the 2013 season – amass a record 973 runs at an average of 81.08 and a strike rate of 152.03, in which he also scored four of his five T20 hundreds. He was also the Player of the Tournament in both the 2014 and 2016 T20 World Cups, but his personal bests in those tournaments (77 in the 2014 final against Sri Lanka, and 89* in the 2016 semi-final against West Indies) came in knockout losses.
Lasith Malinga v Shahid Afridi
Lasith MalingaWickets 390 Ave 19.69 ER 7.08
Lasith Malinga’s slinging action, cunning change of pace and pinpoint yorkers at the death put him in pole position to be considered the best in the format. Among pace bowlers with at least 200 T20 wickets, no one averages better than his 19.69. Second to Dwayne Bravo on the wicket-taking charts in T20 cricket, Malinga is the only bowler with over 100 wickets in T20Is. Half of his 390 wickets have come for the Mumbai Indians, and he’s the leading wicket-taker in the IPL. He took the most wickets in the 2011 IPL, and followed that up with a Player-of-the-Tournament performance in the franchise’s first title, the Champions League T20. He has since gone on to win four IPL titles with the franchise. In 2014, he led Sri Lanka to the T20 World Cup title, taking up captaincy midway into the tournament. Many would have thought his T20 career was on the wane when he was appointed Mumbai Indians’ bowling mentor in 2018 after going unsold at the IPL auction. Come 2019, Malinga took a wicket off the final ball in a one-run thriller in the IPL final, and later that year conjured a magical four in four for his country.
Shahid AfridiRuns 4310 Ave 18.49 SR 153.87Wickets 339 Ave 22.26 ER 6.71
The T20 format seemed tailor-made for Shahid Afridi the batsman, but it’s his consistent bowling that’s made him a highly-valued T20 player, with his ability to clear the boundaries an added bonus. With 91 runs and 12 wickets in seven matches, he was the Player of the Tournament at the 2007 T20 World Cup – where Pakistan reached the final. But his moment on the international stage was the 2009 campaign, where he hit back-to-back fifties, besides bowling vital four-over spells, in the semi-final and final as Pakistan completed a memorable triumph. He’s seventh on the list of top T20 wicket-takers; in T20Is, he is second to Malinga, but he top the charts for the T20 World Cup. He’s relied upon more for quickfire cameos in T20 batting line-ups, but the ability to enthrall one and all remains.
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