In what has been described as one of the more ridiculous Twenty20 run-chases one will witness, West Indies Captain, Kieron Pollard became just the third player to hit six sixes in an over in international cricket off the same bowler, Akila Dananjaya, who had rocked West Indies’ chase just an over earlier with a hat-trick in the first of three T20 matches against Sri Lanka in Antigua.
`It felt like it was either sixes or wickets for most of West Indies’ innings as an opening stand of 52 in 3.2 became 52 for 3 when Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle (on his comeback) and Nicholas Pooran fell in three balls to Dananjaya, according to ESPNcricinfo.
It said that, eight balls later, Lendl Simmons also departed, lbw to the impressive Wanindu Hasaranga, before Pollard’s immense response.
Facing the next over from Dananjaya, Pollard joined Herschelle Gibbs and Yuvraj Singh in having taken 36 off an over with some of the shots almost going out of the small ground in Antigua, ESPNcricinfo said.
It said West Indies’ powerplay tally of 98 was also a new record.
ESPNcricinfo said “the wild ride continued when Pollard was also lbw to Hasaranga before relative calm was brought to the game’s final minutes by Jason Holder, who was returning to the T20I fold.”
Holder’s 29 off 24 balls saw West Indies home with four wickets and 41 balls to spare, after they had limited Sri Lanka to a sub-par 131 for 9, on what was a good batting surface, ESPNcricinfo said.
“Such was the feast and famine nature of West Indies’ batting — 75 percent of their runs (102) came in boundaries off just 19 deliveries,” ESPNcricinfo said.
“So devastating was Pollard’s innings that it took off most, if not all, of the sheen off what would have otherwise been a dream return to international cricket for Dananjaya,” it added. “That said, much of the uncertainty in West Indies’ chase was brought on by Hasaranga, whose back-to-back scalps of Pollard and Fabian Allen — the hosts still needed 31 runs with four wickets in hand at that point — had sown doubt.”
In the first innings of the rain-interrupted game, ESPNcricinfo said Obed McCoy’s 2 for 25 was the pick of the figures.
But it said it was an all-round effort for West Indies with each of the six bowlers used picking up a wicket.
Aside from a brief period when debutant Pathum Nissanka and Niroshan Dickwella put on a 51-run second-wicket stand, the West Indies bowlers were always in control, ESPNcricinfo said.
“The fact that just the three boundaries were conceded in final 10 overs tells its own story,” it said.
“Holder exercised all his considerable experience and showed exactly why the selectors had chosen to put their faith in him,” it added. “Utilizing his entire repertoire of variations – yorkers, slower balls, slower bouncers, you name it — he reeled back the Sri Lanka innings in the middle overs, just as they would have been looking to up the scoring.”
ESPNcricinfo said “rarely will a bowler’s emotions have fluctuated as wildly on a cricket field as Dananjaya’s.”
By the end of his second over, it said the young spinner could hardly have accounted for a more perfect return to international cricket.
ESPNcricinfo said he had just picked up his first-ever international hat-trick, one which included the wicket of Gayle.
“And, in the process, he looked to have hauled his side back into a game that was slipping away fast, following some lusty hits from Lewis and Simmons,” ESPNcricinfo said. “That was the good.
“What followed next is the cricketing equivalent of being subjected to a pop quiz that you haven’t studied for at all, and having no option but to simply stare at a blank piece of paper, resigned to your fate, as you solemnly evaluate the life choices that led you to that point,” it added. “Maybe even that doesn’t quite sum up the dread and helplessness Dananjaya must have felt as Pollard proceeded to activate what is known in video game parlance as “boss mode” to pummel, crush and wallop six straight sixes off Dananjaya’s third over.
“Dananjaya, to his credit, did try and mix things up,” ESPNcricinfo continued. “But whether he went length, full, wide of the stumps, around the wicket, or fired it on the pads, the result remained the same. “Dananjaya, in his very next over, was hit for his seventh consecutive six by Holder, and on the next ball Holder was dropped at deep midwicket by debutant Ashen Bandara.”