1st T20 International - Sri Lanka Vs West Indies - Antigua
Kieron Pollard became only the third man to hit six sixes in an international over, as West Indies trounced Sri Lanka by four wickets with 41 balls to spare in the first Twenty20 International match played in Antigua yesterday.
Chasing a modest target of 132 at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, West Indies reached their target in the 14th over when Jason Holder clubbed his side's 13th six.
The carnage took place in the sixth over of a bizarre West Indies innings, bowled by off-spinner Akila Dananjaya, who in his previous over had been celebrating after taking a hat-trick.
Pollard went berserk, clobbering the bowler's first ball for six over long on and the next straight onto the sight screen, before powering a lofted straight hit over long off to a slightly widish delivery bowled by Akila.
The rattled bowler was then pummeled over mid wicket off his fourth delivery before Pollard timed his fifth six over the bowler's head.
Akila then opted to bowl his last delivery around the wicket to Pollard, who gleefully went on to flick his sixth consecutive six over the mid wicket boundary with ease.
Pollard joined South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs who hit 36 runs in an over against the Netherlands in a 2007 World Cup ODI game and India's Yuvraj Singh, who also achieved the feat in 2007, in a Twenty20 World Cup match against England.
"I felt I could hit six sixes after the third one," said 33-year-old Pollard who scored 38 off 11 balls.
"Once I had hit 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 praised his opposite number.
"Pollard as we know is very destructive," Mathews said at 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.
West Indies' run-chase was powered by openers Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons who bludgeoned 52 runs off the first 20 balls, as the two-time T20 World Cup winners looked on course.
West Indies' Powerplay tally of 98 runs was also a new record.
Lewis set the tempo of the innings by blasting three consecutive sixes in Mathews’ opening over, before being caught in the deep off Dananjaya for a breezy 28.
The return of 41-year-old Chris Gayle for his first international appearance in two years turned out to be an anti-climax.
He was out for a golden duck being adjudged lbw after a review, attempting a tentative flick to the leg side.
Dananjaya completed his hat-trick by having Nicholas Pooran caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella.
From 52-3 West Indies slumped to 62-4 when leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga dismissed Simmons for 26, trapping him leg before, before Pollard went berserk.
Hasaranga survived the onslaught to finish with figures of 3-12 off his four overs while Dananjaya's four overs cost 62 runs, despite his hat-trick.
Sri Lanka, aiming to win a match for the first time in a year, made a below-par 131-9.
The tourists were asked to bat by the 2012 and 2016 world champions, with Pathum Nissanka marking his Sri Lanka debut by top scoring with 39 off 34 balls including four fours and one of his team's three sixes.
The 22-year-old batsman shared a 51-run second wicket partnership with opener Dickwella, who made 33.
However, Sri Lanka never got to grips with the slowness of the wicket and the accurate West Indies attack, which featured 39-year-old fast bowler Fidel Edwards making his return to the team for the first time since 2012.
Left-arm fast bowler Obed McCoy, playing just his third T20 International had the best figures of 2-25.
Jason Holder finished with an economical 1-19, while there was also a wicket for 21-year-old debutant off-spinner Kevin Sinclair who opened the bowling and claimed the wicket of Danushka Gunathilaka.
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.