Adrenaline rush once in a divine while cricket and the elements collude to produce moments of exceptional brilliance that continue to thrill each time they are recalled. We compile a list of incredible instances. Face off
Gibbs picks Viru, Yuvi to go 6x6
South African opener Herschelle Gibbs, who smashed a record six sixes off Holland leg-spinner Daan van Bunge's over in the 2007 World Cup, feels his feat could be replicated at the upcoming ICC World Cup in the sub-continent. The 36-year-old earmarked Indian swashbucklers Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh as the batsmen most likely to achieve it.
"Sehwag has the kind of attitude that I can appreciate. What makes him different from all of us is his ability to go for his shots from the outset. He backs himself against all bowlers," Gibbs told HT. On Yuvraj, who hit six sixes off a Stuart Broad over at the T20 World Championships later in 2007, he said, "He is in the same mould as me. When he gets in the zone he's impossible to stop. He also hits the ball very cleanly."
One could forgive van Bunge for not being in the most jolly of moods after Gibbs got six on six - the only batsman in ODIs to achieve the feat. However, the Dutchman found a way to put a humorous twist on what must have been an embarrassing situation. "After the match we got downed a few pints and exchanged jerseys. On the one he gave me was a message: 'They were only small sixes!' We had a nice laugh about it," Gibbs said.
Elaborating on his frame of mind going into that over, he said, "I'd been in the middle for a while, and a couple of overs prior to that (30th over) I got a message from the pavilion to get a move on. Before that over I'd made up my mind that I was going to go after the slow bowlers." After being hoisted for four straight hits over the fence, van Bunge sent one short and wide. Calling it the 'crucial ball' on his way to the record, Gibbs said, "Most batsman would have just cut the ball down to the third-man boundary, but I took my chances."
Gibbs gamble paid off as he swat-pulled the ball over long-off in a shot of great improvisation. "It felt great, but I didn't know I'd become the first batsman (in ODIs) to do it. After the innings one of our support crew told me about the record," he added.
Gibbs agreed that the small ground at Warner Park in St Kitts helped him. "I think the short boundaries played a part," he said.
Gibbs goes big: Six in the city H Gibbs (SA) vs NED in 2007 WC league match
For an amateur like Daan van Bunge, leg spin didn't come easy. Full tosses and long hops were a regular feature of his bowling. However, the day he was hit for six sixes in an over by Herschelle Gibbs he did not bowl all that badly, at least to begin with. Gibbs danced down the track and dispatched three perfectly good deliveries, once over mid-wicket, twice over long-off. That is when van Bunge lost it. A full toss was dispatched over mid-wicket, a long hop outside off stump was hit back over his head and the last ball went high over mid-wicket. The dubious record was van Bunge's. Gibbs became the third batsman in first-class cricket to hit six sixes in an over, joining Sir Garfield Sobers and Ravi Shastri. He is the first to do it in ODIs.
Balli, Balli at lord's Balwinder Sandhu (Ind) vs WI in 1983 final
Of the many cuts and thrusts with which David brought Goliath to his knees in this memorable Lord's final, Balwinder Singh Sandhu got the first. Sandhu was one of the dibbly-dobbly bowlers that India passed off as medium-pacers in '83, though he was quicker than the rest which is why he got to share the new ball with Kapil Dev. What chance did he have against the fearsome openers Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes? Plenty, it turned out as Greenidge shouldered arms to one that came in and bowled him. West Indies were five for one chasing India's 183.
Sunny side up in ODIs, finally Sunil Gavaskar (Ind) vs NZ in 1987 league game
In Test matches, Sunil Gavaskar would score a century every six visits to the crease, but the 50-over game had never been as kind to him. While he racked up 30-odd tons in Tests, he struggled for one in ODIs. Nagpur in 1987, however, saw him get his first. Playing his 107th ODI, the man who had once scored 36 not out in 60 overs matched the flamboyant Krish Srikkanth stroke for stroke, hitting Ewan Chatfield for successive sixes and fours to ignite India's chase of 222. Gavaskar scored 103 off 88, his only ton in 108 ODIs, and India won with 10 overs to spare, thereby topping the group and ensuring they played the semi-final at home.
Have ball, will deliver Wasim Akram (Pak) vs Eng in 1992 final
There were two moments of brilliance that turned the 1992 final in Melbourne decisively in Pakistan's favour. Brought back into the attack and told by his captain Imran Khan to forget everything else and bowl fast, Akram did that and more. Allan Lamb, who had brought England back into the game, got an unplayable ball that threatened to come in, before straightening and hitting off-stump. The next ball darted into Chris Lewis off the wicket and he chopped it on to the stumps.
When he threw his weight around Arjuna Ranatunga (SL) vs Aus in 1996 final
There was never any love lost between the Sri Lanka captain and the Australians ever since Muttiah Muralitharan was no-balled Down Under. Things got worse when Australia, along with West Indies, refused to travel to Sri Lanka for the group matches in the 1996 Cup edition, citing security concerns. So, when Sri Lanka and Australia met in the final in Lahore fireworks resulted. Ever the shrewd tactician, Arjuna Ranatunga targeted dangerman Shane Warne during the chase, sticking his tongue out at him after hitting him for a six while Aravinda de Silva played a blinder at the other end. Warne never settled and Sri Lanka won quite easily to lift their first title.
Spin in the tale for Prabhakar Sanath Jayasuriya (SL) vs Ind in 1996 league match
Manoj Prabhakar was not prepared for the savage assault that awaited him when Sri Lanka started chasing India's 271 for three in this Group A match. In fact, in that pre-T20 era, no one was, not the players, nor the spectators at the ground, nor the thousands glued to their television sets. Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana batted in such haste that Sachin Tendulkar's brilliant century seemed pedestrian by comparison. Prabhakar's first two overs went for 33, the 50 was up in the fifth over and no one knew how to stop the floodgates. Prabhakar ended up bowling off-spin in what would be his last ODI.
Donald, a sitting duck as Proteas choke Allan Donald (SA) vs Aus in the 1999 semi-final
With nine required off the last over, Lance Klusener bludgeoned eight off Damien Fleming's first two deliveries. After 2 dot balls, Kluesener set off for a single while Donald watched the ball, then dropped his bat and finally got run out by a mile.
When we gave it back to Pak Sachin Tendulkar (IND) vs Pak in '03 League stage
The six Sachin Tendulkar hit over point off a strutting Shoaib Akhtar at Centurion was hit off the middle of the bat and went flat, a la Sanath Jayasuriya in those days. With the confidence oozing, and the Pakistanis caught in disbelief, the target of 274 was suddenly not looking that big. Tendulkar was the master chaser that day.
Jaddu finds life in the death overs Ajay Jadeja (Ind) vs Pak in 1996 Quarter-final
Waqar Younis's yorkers made him a feared bowler in the death overs. However, he got it wrong in the quarter-final against India in Bangalore. He allowed Ajay Jadeja to get under the ball and was smacked.
Four squared by slinger Lasith Malinga (SL) vs SA in '07 Super8s game
A hat-trick is rare in cricket and four in four is laying it too thick, but that is exactly what Lasith 'Slinger' Malinga did against South Africa in their Super Eights match in Guyana. The burst threatened to turn a hopeless match in Sri Lanka's favour. Needing four from 31 balls with five wickets in hand, South Africa came one faint inside edge away from defeat. Malinga sent back Pollock, Hall, Kallis and Ntini, but just missed the edge of Langeveldt.