Stars of the show

K. RAMESH BABU

Roelof van der Merwe

Roelof van der Merwe did not announce himself to the world in the most elegant of ways, but one thing he could not be accused of on debut was being subtle. In the second T20 game on Australia's 2009 tour of South Africa, van der Merwe scored a 30-ball 48, clearing the boundary repeatedly with a variety of outrageous (mis)hits, including a wild, blind hoick that he later alluded to as the shot “where I'm not looking where it's going”. There was a kind of fury to the rest of his cricket too — the frenetic, hustling left-arm spin and the overly zestful fielding — and when he emerged South Africa's second-highest wicket-taker in the subsequent ODI series, it suggested that he could fulfil an all-rounder's role in the one-day side. But van der Merwe has since played only 13 one-day matches for his country, his international career never really taking off. But two years on from that rather striking international debut, the 26-year-old appears slightly more responsible as a player. He struck a 40-ball 73 against Kolkata Knight Riders, single-handedly helping Somerset chase down 161.

Van der Merwe's catalogue of shots included a couple of reverse-sweeps and an odd upper-cut that somehow travelled the wrong side of the keeper for four, but that hit was absent.

K. PICHUMANI

Moises Henriques

Trinidad & Tobago looked to have earned its first win, two days after heartbreak in its opening game in Bangalore, but floundered on the figure of Moises Henriques. New South Wales had looked hopelessly out of the contest with 28 runs needed off the final two overs, but Henriques — born, incidentally, in the same Portuguese town as Cristiano Ronaldo — clobbered 16 of those, including fours off Ravi Rampaul's first two balls in the 20th, and combined with Patrick Cummins to take the game into the Super Over.

NSW predictably preferred him over Shane Watson to open, and Henriques continued to torment Rampaul (who rather inexplicably continued with his approach from around the wicket), hitting four successive boundaries. T & T would not recover from the beating.

Considered a genuine all-rounder, the 24-year-old has failed to live up to the mountain of praise and expectation that has followed him all along. Although comparison to Mark Waugh may have been going risibly overboard (former NSW and Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss the offender), Henriques will be disappointed he has played only two one-day matches for Australia.

K. PICHUMANI

Lasith Malinga

The highest wicket-taker in the fourth edition of the IPL, there was little doubt Lasith Malinga would continue to run batsmen ragged, but a contribution with the bat was scarcely expected. The Sri Lankan stained Chennai Super Kings' perfect 2011 home record, scoring an unbeaten T20 career-high 37 to deliver Mumbai Indians the most improbable of victories.

Malinga joined captain Harbhajan Singh with their side needing 53 runs off 28 balls, and the eighth-wicket pair finished things off with a ball to spare. Malinga's 18-ball blitzkrieg contained three fours and three sixes, and helped a depleted Mumbai open its account in the tournament.

He outscored the other overseas players (Aiden Blizzard, James Franklin, Andrew Symonds, Kieron Pollard) in Mumbai's second game too, playing a brief but important batting role in the last-ball defeat of Trinidad & Tobago.

With 11 runs required off the final over, Malinga smashed Sherwin Ganga into the sightscreen on the second ball, tilting the contest in Mumbai's favour.

Shreedutta Chidananda