Few can deny that T20 cricket has popularized cricket and brought back the crowd and eyeballs for the sport. It is also a money-spinner for the BCCI and ICC. The IPL, as well as the ICC T20 world cup, are both hugely successful and popular tournaments. Countries also play bilateral series with each other. There are franchise tournaments that have also mushroomed across the world where mercantile cricketers ply their trade.
Cricket is not an individual sport but rather a team sport. Individual performances mean little if the team does not cross the line. However, all individual players shall come together to deliver a complete team performance.
In general, the winning team has a few stand-out performances that allow the team to achieve the win. The most prominent performer who has played a major role in the team’s victory is awarded the Man of the Match Award to commiserate his contributions and achievements. There have been many Indian superstars who have won the man of the match award. In T20Is as well, the best player with the most contribution is awarded the man of the match. We look at 5 Indian cricketers who have received this honor in T20Is on their debut.
1. Dinesh Karthik
Karthik has been a pillar of T20 cricket in India for many years. His exploits in the Nidhas Trophy still evoke goosebumps where he single-handedly won the game for India. He made his T20I debut in 2006 against South Africa. It was a low-scoring game and India needed to chase 126 to win. However, in the nail-biter, India won with a ball to spare and Karthik played a key role with his 31 runs off 28 balls, no out. For his valiant effort, he was given the man of the match.
2. Navdeep Saini
A pace machine, Saini has been one of India’s brightest talents. He bowls fast and hits the deck fast. He debuted against West Indies in 2019. He picked 3 wickets for just 17 runs and was mighty impressed with his tight lines. Due to his effort, the Windies were restricted to 95 which India chased comfortably. Saini was awarded the man of the match for his contributions.
3. Axar Patel
One of the most sought-after spinners today in the T20 circuit, he debuted against Zimbabwe in 2015. India put up a solid total of 178 runs and Zimbabwe was under the pump in the chase. He picked up 3 wickets and was economical with just giving away 17 runs. His efforts fetched him the MoM award on his debut.
4. Pragyan Ojha
Another spinner on this list is Ojha. The leggie debuted against Bangladesh in 2009 and had to defend 180 runs that India had put up on the board. He bowled his 4 overs for just 21 runs and was the most economical bowler. He picked up 4 wickets and was instrumental in restricting Bangladesh to just 155.
5. Harshal Patel
The 30 years Patel, has received an India call very late however, he has ensured that he makes it count. After coming off with the purple cap in the IPL, Patel impressed the selectors and was called up for the just-concluded T20 series against New Zealand. In the second T20I, he made his debut and picked up 2 wickets for 25 runs off his quota of overs. This performance helped him clinch the MoM on debut.