Dananjaya takes hat-trick, before Pollard hits him for six sixes in an over
“Herschelle Gibbs, Yuvraj Singh, you have company.” Ian Bishop knew very well the elite club Kieron Pollard had entered smashing his way through six sixes in an over on Wednesday.
It’s a truly exclusive club—Gibbs, Singh and now Pollard as he took West Indies to a win in their first T20 against Sri Lanka in Antigua, changing the match in the space of six balls—the only ones in the history of international cricket to send all the balls in an over sailing beyond the boundary.
The crazy thing is, it could have gone in the other direction. Because at the opposite end of the spectrum was off-spinner Akila Dananjaya, for whom a dream start with a hat-trick turned into a nightmare in a matter of minutes as the hosts chased down a 132-run target in just 13.1 overs. In the space of just two of his overs, Dananjaya had gone from potential match-winner with three wickets to becoming only the third bowler in international cricket to concede 36 runs in an over.
Beneath his calm demeanour, Pollard has this uncanny ability to conceal the madness within. The Indian Premier League (IPL) has known it, and so has the West Indies team since the last decade-and-half. But even by his tall standards, the big guy from Trinidad couldn’t have possibly imagined that he would do what he did at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.
Before Pollard went on his rampage, Dananjaya had pocketed three of the most destructive T20 batsmen – Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran – off three successive balls in his second over (4th of the innings). It was the fourth time that a Sri Lankan (Lasith Malinga twice, Thisara Perera once) had taken a hat-trick in a T20 International and the 14th overall.
Lewis was caught off a mistimed lofted shot, Gayle could not negate the run and was LBW while Pooran was caught behind while playing too far away from his body.
With West Indies down at 62/4 in five overs, and the hat-trick star Dananjaya back in the attack, Pollard got down on one knee to clear the ropes over long on off the first delivery of the sixth over. The second one would go over the bowler’s head, the third one to long-off, the fourth over mid-wicket, the fifth one again a straight heave and the sixth one chipped over mid-wicket again.
Dananjaya went from figures of 3/17 off two overs to 3/53 off three.
“I felt I could hit six sixes after the third one. I did it in the Super 50 as well. I just backed myself. 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’” Pollard said after the match.
The drama was not yet over. Pollard was dismissed off the very first delivery that he would face after that stormy sixth over.
It was now leg-spinner Hasaranga de Silva’s turn to be on a hat-trick. He trapped Pollard in front of the wicket with a googly and then Fabian Allen in similar fashion off the next ball. But for Dwayne Bravo’s solid forward defence against yet another googly, there could have been a second hat-trick on the night.
12 Balls, 3 wickets, 45 runs: The story of a match
# Sri Lanka bat first and score 131/9 in 20 overs
# West Indies reach 48/0 in three overs
# Akila Dananjaya comes on for his second over (4th of the innings)
3.1 –Dananjaya to Evan Lewis, FOUR runs, pulled over square leg.
3.2 - Dananjaya to Lewis, OUT, mistimed shot caught at extra cover
3.3 - Dananjaya to Chris Gayle, OUT, lbw as Gayle fails to read the spin
3.4 - Dananjaya to Nicholas Pooran, OUT, Pooran’s edge is caught behind. Hat-trick for Dananjaya
3.5 - Dananjaya to Pollard, 1 run
3.6 - Dananjaya to Lendl Simmons, FOUR runs
# Hosts lose Simmons in the fifth over to Hatharanga de Silva. WI 62/4
# Akila Dananjaya comes on for his third over (6th of the innings) Pollard on strike. WI 62/4
5.1 - Pollard slog sweeps the length ball over long-on. SIX
5.2 – Lofted straight drive, ball hits the sightscreen. SIX
5.3 – A wider delivery hoisted over long off. SIX
5.4 – Length ball and Pollard heaves it over mid-wicket. SIX
5.5 – Another delivery outside off, Pollard makes space and goes over Dananjaya’s head. SIX
5.6 – Dananjaya changes direction, ball aimed at Pollard’s leg, clipped over midwicket. SIX
# West Indies 98/4 in six overs