West Indies v Sri Lanka T20Is - Men's
Hat-trick followed by six sixes in 'bizarre' T20
Akila Dananjaya's hat-trick one over was followed by being smashed for six successive sixes by Windies captain Kieron Pollard the next in a mad-cap T20 international in Antigua
4 March 2021, 01:19 PM AEST
Sri Lanka's Akila Danajaya took a hat-trick in one over then was smashed for six sixes in his next in a "bizarre" T20 international against the West Indies in Antigua.
Windies skipper Kieron Pollard became just the third man in international cricket to hit six sixes in an over, following the efforts from Yuvraj Sing and Herschelle Gibbs, as the Windies eventually cruised to a four-wicket win in the opening match of the three-game series.
Pollard was deep in the dressing room at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua when Dananjaya began his second over, the game's fourth, but soon was required to rush and pad up.
The Windies had started their run chase of just 133 in furious fashion, and when Evin Lewis pulled for four to bring up an opening stand of 52 in just 19 balls, they looked on track for a big win.
Then all hell broke loose.
Lewis was caught on the long-off boundary next ball to exit for 28 off 10 to bring 41-year-old superstar Chris Gayle to the crease.
Gayle, looking to push his first ball away, was struck on the pads and given out for a first ball duck.
Nicholas Pooran, who impressed for the Melbourne Stars this summer and has an admirer in Steve Smith was then caught behind after edging his first ball to complete the hat-trick.
It was the fourth hat-trick for Sri Lanka in T20 cricket after Thisara Perera against India in February 2016 and the two owned by Lasith Malinga, who claimed on against Bangladesh in April 2017, and took four wickets in four balls against New Zealand in September 2019.
Overall, there have now been 14 hat-tricks in T20 international cricket, and this was the first since Ashton Agar's effort against South Africa in Johannesburg just over 12 months ago.
Enter Pollard, who calmly saw off his first delivery for a single, and was two off four balls before he faced up to Dananjaya's third over.
The next six balls disappeared over the fence between long-off and deep midwicket with a succession of slog-sweeps and front-foot drives, ending with Pollard making a sweeping bow to the crowd.
He would later admit he was eyeing 36 off the over after taking the first three balls for 18, citing local knowledge after the Caribbean's domestic 50-over tournament.
"We had played a couple of games here in the Super50 and I understand how the wicket plays when the ball is hard," Pollard said post-match.
"Only two guys were out, so I just come out and back myself to clear the boundaries rather than just prod and prod and prod. It was something the team needed."
Having smashed five consecutive sixes, Pollard admitted to briefly considering blocking out the final ball.
"In that brief time (before the sixth delivery) a couple things went through my head; do I survive the rest of the over because I've already gotten 30 or do I just continue.
"I know I had the bowler on the back foot and he went around the wicket, it would have been difficult for him to bowl the ball anywhere in front of me.
"I just said, 'You know what Polly, take your chances'.
"You're damned if you do, you're damned if you don't and that's the way I've played my cricket throughout, especially with spinners bowling.
"It came off tonight. It was a bizarre game."
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said his side's focus had been only on wickets, not trying to stem the runs when defending a low total.
"Pollard is very destructive, he can take any bowler down, so what I said (to Dananjaya) was try and get his wicket, it doesn't matter if he goes for six sixes, that's his strength," Mathews relayed.
"If he goes and miscues one we have a real big chance of winning the game. Unfortunately for us, Pollard came on top in that over."