September 18, 2007: The left-handed Yuvraj Singh set Durban’s Kingsmead Cricket Ground alight tonight with an amazing show of power hitting, becoming the first man in the history of Twenty20 cricket to hit six sixes in an over. England fast bowler Stuart Broad was at the receiving end of the Indian left-hander’s whiplash blade in the ICC World Twenty20 game.
T20 cricket may be about big hitting and we have seen nearly 200 sixes in the tournament but everyone who was privileged to watch Yuvraj Singh tear apart Broad’s bowling is unlikely to forget that he hit clean cricket shots around the park as India built on a century stand between openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag to make 218 for four in 20 overs.
India needs to win this game and the next to be in the race for a semifinal berth. England is already out of the tournament as South Africa and New Zealand have won two matches each and Paul Collingwood’s team has lost both its games so far. It was not as if England was just showing up the park and not being competitive at all. Far from it.
For all that, to put a Sehwag blitz takes some doing. And two men managed to do that after Sehwag cracked a 38-ball half-century. Gambir got there in two deliveries fewer but Yuvraj reached the milestone with just 12 deliveries reducing Paul Collingwood to a helpless state as he waded into Broad with impunity.
Yuvraj had walked in to bat when India seemed to be losing some momentum and with 26 deliveries left for the innings to end. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had again batted ahead of Yuvraj and was unable to hit the boundaries. Yuvraj was welcomed to the crease by Chris Tremlett with a short delivery that went past his flashing blade.
That was the only time Yuvraj’s bat did not make contact with the willow. He batted as if he had been at the crease all day, driving the next ball over covers. Two fours followed in the next over from Flintoff and a single off the left ball set him up to face Broad. Nobody would have been prepared for the mayhem that followed.
He got the first one over wide long-on and the second was a flick off the pads over long leg and into the crowd there. He stepped outside the line of the leg stump and sent the third soaring over extra cover. And when Broad sought to go round the wicket and delievered a full toss, Yuvraj guided the ball over the point fence for his fourth six. The fans had already screamed themselves hoarse.
Collingwood called for a mini meeting with Broad but Yuvraj sent the next delivery, bowled from over the wicket, climbing over the man at the mid-wicket fence by going down on one knee and connecting it sweetly. Broad knew the last one was also going to get the treatment and Yuvraj did not disappoint, leaning back to hit it over long on.
The ball was still on its way when he swirled around and waved his bat at his team mates in acknowledgement of their cheers. It was the fastest Twenty20 fifty – it came up from 12 balls and had three fours and six sixes. Garry Sobers and Ravi Shastri achieved the feat of scoring six sixes in an over in first-class matches and Herschelle Gibbs in the ICC World Cup 2007.