Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who was in attendance for the T20 World Cup final on Sunday between Australia and New Zealand, feels David Warner being adjudged the Player of the Tournament is an unfair call. Warner tallied 289 runs from seven matches at an average of 48.16 including three half-centuries and scores of 89*, 49 and 53 in the last three matches.
Warner's third fifty of the tournament came in the crunch final. Needing 173 to win, Warner provided an explosive start, and although he was dismissed shortly after completing his half-century, the left-handed batter had done the job for his team. However, Akhtar was not entirely on board with Warner walking away with the Player of the tournament honour and believes Pakistan captain Babar Azam was deserving of the award.
"Was really looking forward to see @babarazam258 becoming Man of the Tournament. Unfair decision for sure," Akhtar tweeted.
There is no denying that Babar had been in red-hot form in the 2021 T20 World Cup, with the Pakistan batter scoring 303 runs from six innings at an average of 60. He began his T20 World Cup campaign with a cracking 68 not out against India, followed by a hat-trick of half-centuries scored against Afghanistan, Namibia and Scotland as Pakistan remained unbeaten in the Super 12 stage to advance to the semi-finals. Babar's efforts also helped him become the No.1 ranked T20I batter as he leads the charts with 873 runs, toppling India captain Virat Kohli from the top.
Along with Mohammad Rizwan, Babar was in riveting touch with the two batters shattering records with their phenomenal opening partnerships. Babar and Rizwan recorded the highest T20 runs (957) in partnerships in a calendar year while forging the most fifty-plus partnerships (8) in men's T20Is in a year.