Dilshan named T20 player of the tournament
Sri Lanka batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan was today named as the men’s player of the tournament at the conclusion of the ICC World Twenty20 2009 at Lord’s.
Dilshan was the unanimous choice of a select group of experts* following his sensational form that helped guide his side to the final of the event.
Opening the innings throughout the tournament, Dilshan scored a total of 317 runs at a strike-rate of 144.74 and an average above 52.
He scored three half-centuries in the tournament and his unbeaten 96 in the semi-final against the West Indies was the highest individual total of the tournament.
That innings almost single-handedly dragged Sri Lanka to a score that it was then able to defend and it caused his captain Kumar Sangakkara to hail Dilshan as “a pioneer stroke-maker in Twenty20”.
Dilshan also hit more boundaries than any other player, his 46 fours and three sixes well clear of the next biggest tally of hits both to and over the ropes, 28 fours and four sixes by South Africa’s Jacques Kallis.
And his batting was talked about not only for its excellence but also for its innovation, with his ability to flip fast and medium-paced bowlers past his nose and over the wicketkeeper’s head to the boundary one of the enduring memories of the action for all that saw it.
After presenting the player with his award, former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd, the Chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee and himself a two-time ICC Cricket World Cup winner at Lord’s, said: “Tillakaratne has been a tower of strength for Sri Lanka throughout this tournament. He has impressed us all with his improvisation, courage out in the middle and wonderful range of shots.
“I’m not sure how he manages to play that scoop shot – if I had tried that when I played I think I would have ended up with a mouth full of ball – but it was wonderful entertainment and his contribution really gave the tournament a boost.
“Although there were many other players who excelled in this event, I think Tillakaratne is a worthy winner of the player-of-the-tournament award,” said Lloyd.
Dilshan is the second man to be named player of the tournament at an ICC World Twenty20 event, following on from Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, who picked up the award at the conclusion of the inaugural tournament in South Africa in 2007.