It doesn’t matter if you’re playing in the World Cup Final or facing your little brother in the backyard … to hit six sixes off one over is an incredible achievement, writes SIMON LEWIS.
The legendary Gary Sobers did it in a first-class match in the late-60s, after which Ravi Shastri repeated it in the 80s, again in a first-class match. Herschelle Gibbs raised the stakes by going 666666 in an ODI in the 2007 World Cup, and India’s Yuvraj Singh become the second man to hit six sixes in an international match in a T20 against England a few months later.
England’s Ross Whiteley hit his six sixes in a T20 match in England in 2015 and then, on 14 October 2018, Kabul Zwanan’s Hazratullah Zazai became the sixth member of the Six Sixes Club after producing his clean sweep in a T20 match in the Afghanistan Premier League.
Now that six batsmen have hit six sixes in an over in a professional match, SACricketmag.com thought it was time to rank these incredible batting achievements. We rated each batsman based on the match situation, the pitch situation, the quality of the bowler in terms of his career as well as his match figures. This is, however, our personal opinion, so feel free to share your ranking or opinions with us on our Facebook page.
An interesting point we picked up was that four of the bowlers were left-armer spinners, and only one bowled seam up … while four of the batsmen were left-handed.
Number 1 – 1968
Who: Sir Garfield Sobers, left-hand batsman
Match: Nottinghamshire vs Glamorgan, first-class English county cricket match
Bowler: Malcolm Nash
Style: Left-arm medium pace bowler … but Nash was experimenting with slow left-arm orthodox when Sobers hit him for his six sixes.
Record: First-class wickets 993, average 25.87, BBI 9-56, econ 2.78
Match situation: Sobers was pushing for a declaration as Notts were in a good position, so he had nothing to lose. His six spree helped Notts to declare on 394-5 off 99 overs. Sobers then scored 72 in the second innings and Notts won by 166 runs.
Did you know: Sobers was caught off the fifth ball, although the fielder fell over the ropes in taking the catch, thereby giving Sobers six runs. Nash was also once hit for five sixes and a four in an over by Lancashire’s Frank Hayes, and he himself once hit four consecutive sixes off Somerset’s Dennis Breakwell.
SACricketmag rating: THIRD
Reason: It seems sacrilege not to make Sir Gary number one, but it was a county match and his side were well set and going to a declaration … and Nash was messing around bowling spin. Sobers’ feat stood for 16 years as a symbol of his rare genius … before Ravi Shastri became the second man to hit six sixes in an over. It is one of the most iconic cricket videos, but we still can’t justify it being higher than third.
Number 2 – 1985
Who: Ravi Shastri, right-hand batsman
Match: Bombay vs Baroda, first-class match
Bowler: Tilak Raj
Style: Left-arm spinner
Record: Raj played 26 first-class matches and bowled just 496 balls, going for 322 runs and snapping up a mere five wickets at an average of 64.40 and an economy rate of 3.89, which is pretty high for first-class cricket.
Match situation: Shastri scored 200 not out off 123 balls as Bombay reached 457-5 off just 80.1 overs, a rate of 5.7 runs per over. It was a total runsfest, preceded by first innings scores of 330 by Baroda and 371-4 by Bombay. The match was drawn, although Baroda ended 81-7 off 18 overs in their second innings.
Did you know: Raj conceded 88 runs off his 10 overs, while three of his teammates also went for over seven runs to the over.
SACricketmag rating: FIFTH
Reason: The wicket was flatter than the N1 on a hot summer’s day and runs were scored aplenty, and the bowler was young and inexperienced. Great hitting by Shastri, nonetheless.
Number 3 – 2007
Who: Herschelle Gibbs, right-hand batsman
Match: South Africa vs the Netherlands, ODI, World Cup
Bowler: Daan van Bunge
Style: Right-arm legbreak
Record: ODIs played 37, balls 331, runs 329, wickets 11, BB 3-16, ave 29.90, econ 5.96
Match situation: In South Africa’s first match of the World Cup the Proteas batted first and Gibbs came to the wicket with the score on 114-2 in the 18th over, so no great pressure there. He scored 72 off 40 balls, with four fours and seven sixes, as South Africa amassed 353-3, so the going was pretty good for the batsmen. Van Bunge’s four overs went for 56 runs, and he temporarily retired from international cricket after this World Cup.
Did you know: Gibbs’ six-hitting exploits raised US$ 1-million for charity because of a competition run by sponsors Johnny Walker. Nice one, Hersch!
SACricketmag rating: FIRST
Reason: Legbreak is potentially the most difficult bowling to hit consistently because of the loop and potential variations, and Gibbs displayed a wide range of strokes and brilliant reaction to adapt to the range of deliveries the beleagueredVan Bunge tested him with. Gibbs also reacted brilliantly to a surprise bouncer off the last ball – awesome hitting by the King of the Sixes. Van Bunge is not the sort of bowler likely to give many batsmen sleepless nights, but he did make Gibbs work hard for his sixes.
Number 4 – 2007
Who: Yuvraj Singh, left-hand batsman
Match: India vs England, T20, World T20 cup
Bowler: Stuart Broad
Style: Right-arm fast
Record: T20Is played 56, balls 1173, runs 1491, wickets 65, BB 4-24, ave 22.93, econ 7.62
Match situation: Yuvraj came to the wicket in the 17th over with 155 on the board and had the freedom (and wickets in hand) to just swing at will – and against a young Stuart Broad. There were also some verbals exchanged with the England fielders that raised his blood pressure and got him in a fighting mood. India won by 18 runs.
Did you know: Yuvraj made his T20I debut six days earlier, against Scotland, although the match was abandoned due to bad weather. The next three days he played two T20Is, scoring one and five, and two days later he scored 58 against England which included his six sixes.
SACricketmag rating: SECOND
Reason: Yuvraj had nothing to lose as there were plenty of wickets in hand and he was facing an inexperienced (albeit talented) young paceman. As a left-hander, Broad coming over the wicket to him gave him the perfect way to open up and hit hard and high – although he really hit the Englishman quite beautifully all around Kingsmead. His range of strokes were truly impressive, against a bowler (Broad) who is the best of all six bowlers featured here, so Singh presses Gibbs hard for the top spot. Having the ball come on faster to the bat in some ways made it easier to force the ball over the ropes, compared to the work Gibbs had to do, although his six over point off a full toss was really special. To be fair to Yuvraj, this was the most dramatic and exciting of all the six sixes.
Number 5 – 2015
Who: Ross Whiteley, left-hand bat
Match: Worcestershire vs Yorkshire, T20, NatWest t20 Blast
Bowler: Karl Carver
Style: Left-arm spinner
Record: T20s played 9; balls 108, runs 179, wickets 6, BB 3-40, ave 29.83, econ 9.94
Match situation: The inexperienced young Carver bowled just two overs in the match, going for 47 runs as Whiteley hit out with nothing to lose, as Worcestershire were well behind the run rate and heading for certain defeat. Totally pressure-free hitting against one of the most inexperienced of the six bowlers. Yorkshire scored 233-6 and won by 37 runs.
Did you know: Worcestershire’s opener John Hastings went for 34 runs off one over in this match, bowling a nine-ball over in which he was hit for two sixes, three fours, bowled a no ball, a wide and also send down a ‘five wides’ delivery. His three overs in the match cost 58 runs and earned him two wickets.
SACricketmag rating: SIXTH
Reason: Carver was a really inexperienced bowler and, judging by the footage, he served up a perfection selection of balls to stroke for six. It was really powerful hitting by Whiteley, however, as Carver did his best to mix things up, and the last six was a great reaction to a ball on leg stump.
Number 6 – 2018
Who: Hazratullah Zazai, left-hand batsman
Match: Kabul Zwanan vs Balkh Legends, T20, Afghanistan Premier League
Bowler: Abdullah Mazari
Style: Slow left-arm orthodox
Record: T20s 7, balls 137, runs 185, wickets 4, BB 2-20, ave 46.25, econ 8.10
Match situation: Balkh Legends scored 244-6 off their 20 overs, and Zazai opened the innings and went out full steam ahead on a great pitch in a relatively high-scoring competition. Mazari bowled just one over and went for 37 runs, as he also bowled a wide.
Did you know: Zazai’s innings gave him the share of another record, as he matched Yuvraj Singh (above) and Chris Gayle for scoring the fastest 50 in T20 matches, his 50 coming off just 12 balls. Chris Gayle (Zazai’s hero) was actually on the opposing side in this match and scored 80 runs off 48 balls.
SACricketmag rating: FOURTH
Reason: The pitch was easy and the bowler inexperienced, but Zazai needed great skill and ambidexterity to pull off two of the sixes.
This match today is all about making new records. The flamboyant batsman Hazratullah Zazai has smacked 6 sixes in an over. Got his fifty in just 12 balls. #APLT20 @ACBofficials #BalkhVsKabul pic.twitter.com/KN1s5MJY5y
— Afghanistan Premier League T20 (@APLT20official) October 14, 2018
What about Tests?
Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi (666621 against India) and South African legend AB de Villiers (66661w against Australia) have both hit four sixes off the first four balls of an over, but neither was able to complete the six sixes in the over.
Brian Lara scored the most runs off an over in a Test match, his 28 coming off South Africa’s Robin Peterson (466444) at the Wanderers in 2003-04.
Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images