A flurry of sixes in white ball cricket may be common place now, but a batsman hitting six sixes in an international over is still big news. Kieron Pollard, the West Indies captain, became only the third cricketer to achieve this feat during his team’s four-wicket Twenty20 victory over Sri Lanka in the opening match of the series at St. John’s Antigua on Wednesday.
The feat came in the sixth over of a bizarre West Indies chase, bowled by off-spinner Akila Dananjaya who moments earlier in his previous over, had been celebrating taking a hat-trick.
Pollard followed in the footsteps of South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs against the Netherlands in the 2007 World Cup and India’s Yuvraj Singh, who also achieved the feat in the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup against England.
The big Jamaican, known for his big-hitting exploits in franchise cricket, was eventually out for 38 off 11 balls as the West Indies chased 132 to win at the Coolidge Cricket Ground. The hosts reached their target in the 14th over when Jason Holder clobbered his side’s 13th six.
“I felt I could hit six sixes after the third one,” said 33-year-old Pollard. “Once I had five sixes I knew I had the bowler on the back foot. He was going around the wicket and it was difficult for him. I just told myself: ‘Go for it’.”
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews hailed his opposite number.
“Pollard as we know is very destructive,” Mathews told the post-match presentation. “What I told Akila was to go for his wicket even if he gets hit for six sixes. If he miscued one we could have got him out. Unfortunately it didn’t happen.”
Only eight men have hit six sixes in an over in all forms of cricket with fellow West Indian Sir Garfield Sobers the first to do so in an English county game in 1968. Sir Gary, who was playing for Nottinghamshire, clobbered Malcolm Nash of Glamorgan at Swansea in 1968 and former Indian allrounder Ravi Shastri, now their head coach, emulated him years later in a Ranji Trophy match.
Playing for Mumbai, Shastri plundered six sixes off Tilak Raj of Baroda in the first class game in 1985.
The second and third games in the series also take place at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on March 5 and 7, to be followed by three One-day Internationals and two Tests.