Man of the match

In sport, a man of the match, player of the game or man of the series award is given to the outstanding player, almost always the one who makes the most impact, in a particular match or series.[1] The term was originally used more often in cricket before being adopted by other sports. This can be a player from either team, usually the winning team.

Some sports have unique traditions regarding these sorts of awards, and they are especially sought after in championship or all-star matches. In some sports organisations and leagues, particularly in the United States, the term "Most Valuable Player" (MVP) is used for some of these awards; depending on the circumstances, there may be a distinction between a player of the game and an MVP—an MVP may be considered the player most directly responsible for his team's success, while a player of the game is typified by an outstanding individual effort. In Australia, "best and fairest" is used; likewise, this award has the additional stipulation of requiring the winner to have used fair play and not have been levied a suspension during the season. In ice hockey, three players of the game instead of only one, called the "three stars", are recognised.

Association football

In association football, the award typically goes to a player on the winning side. Players who score a hat-trick, or goalkeepers who keep a clean sheet under resounding pressure often get the award. Hat-trick scorers usually receive the match ball whether or not they are officially named man of the match. However, not all tournaments/leagues have an official man of the match award, so sometimes accolades are given by websites/newspapers instead. In the Premier League for example a player will receive a small black and gold trophy, 20 centimeters in height, 6.4 centimeters in width and 6.4 centimeters in depth, for their man of the match performance.[2][3]

Men playing football, also known as soccer.

Australian rules football

In Australian rules football, the player of the game is often referred to as having been the "best on ground" (or "BOG"). Media outlets provide immediate, unofficial recognition that is largely honorary, often on a 5–4–3–2–1 or 3–2–1 voting basis. Players may receive a Tissot watch as an award for their "best on ground" performance.[4] Officially, the AFL recognises the player of the game as being the player awarded the maximum three votes by umpires in the Brownlow Medal count at season's end. Exceptions are made during the season for certain reserved games such as the Western Derby, The ANZAC Day clash, QClash, and Showdown, where medallions are officially rewarded in presentations following the conclusion of the match. On the day of the AFL Grand Final, a player will be awarded the Norm Smith Medal as being the best on ground voted by an independent panel of Australian rules football experts.[5]


In cricket, the man of the match award became a regular feature in Test matches in the mid 1980s.[6] The man of the match title is usually awarded to the player whose contribution is seen as the most critical in winning the game. However, there have been many instances when the performance of the losing team's player has earned him the award. Test cricket has witnessed rare instances when a joint award for man of the match or man of the series has been announced. However, in ODIs and Twenty20 this phenomenon is usually seen when the member of the losing team is the highest scorer, such as when Charles Coventry (194) and Tamim Iqbal (154) shared the award when Zimbabwe lost the match. In another interesting match held on 3 April 1996, the whole team from New Zealand was awarded the Men of the Match award. It was the first instance when a whole team was awarded it.[7] In a test match played between 15,16,17,18 January 1999 between South Africa vs West Indies whole South african team was awarded man of the match [8]

In Test matches, Jacques Kallis holds the record for the highest number of awards won, with 23 in 166 matches played.[6] In ODIs, Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for the highest number of man of the match titles, with 62 awards in 463 matches played.[9] Tendulkar is followed by Sanath Jayasuriya, who, along with Ricky Ponting, also holds the record for the maximum number of Man of the Match titles as captain.[10]

Ice hockey

In North American ice hockey, the three players who perform best in the game, often either those who accumulate the most points or outstanding goaltenders, are usually designated the Three stars of the game: the top-performing player is the first star, and so on. This tradition originated in the 1930s as a promotion for a "Three Star" brand of gasoline.[11]

However, in international play (and outside North America), the three stars concept is rarely used; instead, other leagues can issue awards to the only player who performs best in the game.


In hurling, the game's top player may be honoured with a man of the match award. Notably, Walter Walsh of Kilkenny picked up the man of the match award on his debut in the 2012 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final replay against Galway.[12]

Rugby football

In both codes of rugby, rugby league and rugby union, the player who wins the award is usually the person who has performed consistently well throughout the game. In televised or sponsored matches, the commentator or company sponsoring the event usually decides who gets the award, and it is presented to the winner after the match.

Examples of the man of the match in important rugby league games being rewarded are the Clive Churchill Medal, the Lance Todd Trophy and the Harry Sunderland Award.

United States college basketball and football

In college basketball and college football, the two collegiate sports with the most television coverage in the United States, a top player from each team is usually honoured as "players of the game." These athletes usually cannot collect material prizes due to NCAA regulations. Instead, television companies broadcasting the game or corporate sponsors will often make donations to the scholarship funds of each school in the names of the winning players.


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