South Africa avoided the ignominy of a whitewash against New Zealand by winning a thriller on Friday at Potchefstroom. Ryan McLaren, known more for his bowling, and having already picked up four wickets with the ball, became an unlikely hero with the bat when he slammed the last ball of the match from James Franklin for a six. This is not the first time that a shorter version cricket game (ODI or T20) has ended with a last-ball six. Here’s a look at a few other clashes that witnessed a similar, pulsating climax.
Javed Miandad (Pakistan vs India at Sharjah, 1986): This is the most famous instance of a match ending in a last-ball six. India batted first and registered 245. In reply, Pakistan were kept in the hunt solely by a magnificent century by Javed Miandad. The close contest went into the very last over, with Chetan Sharma who had picked up a couple of wickets being given the ball. The match could have gone either way till the very last delivery, but Miandad managed to loft Sharma over the ropes to take Pakistan home. It is a six that haunts India till date.
Chamara Kapugedera (Sri Lanka vs India at Gros Islet, 2010): This was the match which led to India being knocked out of the 2010 ICC World T20. India batted first and managed 163. In reply, Lanka were in trouble needing 25 off the last eight deliveries. Some big hitting from the lower order batsmen raised their hopes. Lanka still went into last over with a tough ask. They needed 13 from the final over that was to be bowled by the Ashish Nehra. Angelo Mathews hit the first ball for a six, but most crucially, with three needed off the final ball, Kapugedera hit a six over cover to stun India.
Eoin Morgan (England vs India at Mumbai, 2012): India were again at the receiving end of a last-ball six, this time against England at the Wankhede Stadium. Chasing a challenging 178, the visitors needed three off the last ball. Ashok Dinda was given the responsibility of bowling the last over. A lot of discussions took place between the captain M S Dhoni and the bowler before the last ball was bowled. Morgan, who was leading the English side, however stood still and launched the ball over the bowler’s head with the minimum of fuss. The Indians were left to ponder upon another game that slipped out of their grasp.
Asif Mujtaba (Pakistan vs Australia at Hobart 1992): The Pakistan let-hander did not have a memorable international career, but people remember him as the man who helped Pakistan tie a close ODI against the Aussies two decades back. Chasing 229, Pakistan were struggling at 129 for 6. But Mujtaba with the aid of Rashid Latif gave the visitors some hope. It all boiled down to the final over off which 17 were needed. Pakistan managed to get 10 from the first five balls, and off the last delivery, Mujtaba launched a slower delivery from Steve Waugh over the ropes to tie the memorable clash.
--By A Cricket Analyst