Aftab Ahmed (Denmark) – 6/22 vs PNG
Denmark’s Aftab Ahmed has just eight T20I wickets to show against his name from eight matches but six of them came in one match. When Denmark played against PNG in 2012, he scalped six for 22 with his medium pacers. Although the failure of Danish batsmen to chase down a gettable target of 149 meant Ahmed’s brilliance ended in vain, the adjudicators had no doubt who their player of the match was as Ahmed was duly rewarded for the best bowling figures registered in the 2012 event.
William Porterfield (Ireland) – 127*(69) vs United States
In 2013, when the table toppers met bottom dwelling United States in their Group A encounter, it was predicted to be a one-sided affair. The question was which player would make it that. Irish captain William Porterfield who stepped out to bat first with his opening partner Paul Stirling took the initiative. After all, his side was invited to bat first by USA who had won the toss. Despite losing Stirling after a brief but explosive 28, Porterfield smashed USA bowlers all around the park to end with an undefeated 127 from 69 deliveries to take Ireland to a massive 216. He struck 12 boundaries and five sixes in what was the highest score of that edition of the qualifier.
Paul Stirling (Ireland) – 77 and 4/10 vs Hong Kong
Paul Stirling had a terrific tournament in 2013 when he finished with 292 runs and 11 wickets. The best performance, however, came against Hong Kong. After his captain William Porterfield chose to bat first, Stirling gave him the perfect start by smashing 77 from 55 deliveries before Kevin O’Brien took on the destruction duties from him by striking 62 off 35. Stirling wasn’t finished though and in a tournament which saw his reputation as an all-rounder grow, he gave a good account of himself with the ball with a spell of four for 10 from four overs with his off-spin that stifled Hong Kong’s chase and helped Ireland win by 85 runs.
Karim Sadiq (Afghanistan) - 91 (60) and 4/12 vs Denmark
Before Paul Stirling, Karim Sadiq put up one of the finest one-man shows in the Qualifiers when in 2012, he single-handedly demolished Denmark. The match was a mis-match between rapidly improving Afghanistan and a Danish team that was at the bottom of the table throughout the qualifiers. Sadiq brought out the differences between the two teams with a masterly knock of 90 at the top of the innings and then came back to claim four wickets with his off-spin to help Afghanistan win comfortably by 89 runs.
Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan) – 75 (36) vs Scotland
Mohammad Shahzad took the Qualifiers in 2015 by storm. He bludgeoned his way to some fantastic knocks as Afghanistan vied for a place in the T20 World Cup. And while they fell agonizingly short in their attempt, the swashbuckling wicket-keeper’s innings against hosts Scotland will be remembered for a long time. Opening the batting, Shahzad along with then captain Asghar Afghan stitched together a 110-run second wicket stand and set the base for what is the South Asian country’s highest T20 International score – 210 for five. The bowlers correspondingly restricted the Scots to 173, ensuring a win.