Cricket's Twenty20 superstars: 6 & 5

We continue our countdown of the top T20 players with an Aussie allrounder and a Sri Lankan master

Sam Ferris & Adam Burnett

12 June 2018, 06:44 PM AEST

T20 Superstars: Shane Watson

6. Shane Watson

The stats | M: 273 | NO: 30 | Runs: 7010 | HS: 124no | Ave: 29.82 | SR: 139.61 | 100s: 5 | 50s: 40 | W: 215 | Ave: 27.10 | Econ: 7.90 | SR: 20.50 | BB: 4-15

The story: Unquestionably Australia's greatest T20 player. Watson is No.3 on the lists of Australia's leading T20I run-scorers and wicket-takers and is the only Australian to score more than 2000 runs and take 200 wickets in T20 matches. But more importantly, Watson is a winner. He is a three-time IPL champion and two-time IPL MVP. He was part of Sydney Thunder's maiden KFC Big Bash title in 2016. And at the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka, he won four consecutive man-of-the-match awards to take out the Player of the Tournament award despite Australia's defeat semi-final defeat. Throughout, his power hitting and guile with the ball has made him one of the most effective allrounders in T20 history. Watson, who turns 37 in less than a week, last month scored a brilliant 117no on one leg in the IPL final to deliver Chennai their third crown.

Watson century powers CSK to IPL title

The signature move: Watson is one of the rare 360-degree batsmen in world cricket, and what allows him to hit every part of the boundary is his ability to pick up length in an instant. Whether it be over-pitched or back of a length, Watson rarely finds himself out of position. And the way he muscles spin bowling is a sight to behold. If a spinner drops fractionally short, the bulky allrounder rapidly transfers his weight backwards and hammers the ball to or over the leg-side rope. Players like 'Watto' were why T20 was said to be the death of spin bowling!

The match: In his run of four straight player-of-the-match performances in the 2012 World T20, Watson dominated India in both innings in the Super Eight stage. First, bowling second change, he took 3-34 from four overs including the big wickets of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, to restrict India to 7-140. Then, as opener, he crashed 72 from 42 deliveries with seven sixes to play the lead hand in a nine-wicket thrashing.

5. Lasith Malinga

The stats | M: 256 | W: 348 | Ave: 18.56 | Econ: 6.87 | SR: 16.1 | BB: 6-7

T20 Superstars: Lasith Malinga

The story: In a game largely dominated by batsmen and spinners, Lasith Malinga has been the perennial exception. Fast, unorthodox and devilishly accurate, Malinga has built a T20 record to match anyone and has long been regarded the most effective out-and-out paceman to play the format. That he is the only man to capture five wickets in an innings on four occasions (he also has the most four-wicket hauls, with 12) speaks to his ability to run through a team, while his record as the IPL's leading all-time wicket-taker underlines his longevity and quality. He shrewdly captained Sri Lanka to their 2014 World T20 title success, and took the Big Bash by storm with Melbourne Stars; he still owns the best figures in the tournament's history, as well as the best economy rate (5.40).

The signature move: Think Malinga, think yorker. The Sri Lanka built his impressive arsenal around this lethal stock delivery which at its best included vicious dip and inswing. Batsmen the world over knew it was coming, but were often powerless to prevent it from clattering into their pads or stumps.

Dec 2012: Malinga rips through Scorchers

The performance: Four overs, one maiden, seven runs, six wickets. They're the startling figures Malinga managed one Big Bash evening in Perth, when he ran through the Scorchers to the tune of 69 all out. Four of his victims were bowled or lbw. The Big Bash had never seen anything like it. And hasn't since.'s T20 Superstars countdown - a tribute to the best players to have graced the sport's shortest format - will continue across the next week.