6 times Indian players finished off games with six in final over
The second ODI against West Indies becomes India's one of many final-over thrillers in recent times.
ODIs and the T20Is over the last few years have witnessed several close contests, with the results decided in the last over. It is always entertaining for the fans when the game stays in balance throughout and goes right down to the last over in limited-overs cricket.
This is where the finishers and the death-over bowlers come into play and make the game their own. Knowing the art of yorkers, slower balls and well-directed bouncers becomes crucial for a bowler during these times. For the batters, it is about holding their nerves, being brave and backing themselves to take on the bowlers and go for a big shot.
India have had some top-class finishers such as MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik among many others. There have been some iconic games that the Men in Blue were part of, which were decided with a last-ditch effort in the final moments.
Here are 6 times when an Indian player finished off the game with a six in the final over:
1. Axar Patel vs West Indies (ODI), in Port of Spain, July 2022
It was on July 24 at Queen’s Park Oval when West Indies won the toss and elected to bat first. Windies opening batter Shai Hope scored a magnificent 115 runs off 135 balls, and skipper Nicholas Pooran contributed later on with 74 runs off 77 balls.
The hosts put up a total of 311 for the loss of six wickets in 50 overs. India opener Shubman Gill scored 43, and Shreyas Iyer, at number three, scored 63. Sanju Samson followed it up with a well-made 54 in the middle. Axar Patel walked in when India needed 107 off 68 balls with only five wickets in hand.
Axar came to India’s rescue, scoring his maiden fifty in ODIs. In the last over, Kyle Mayers had the ball in hand, and the visitors needed eight off six balls with the two wickets in hand. It came down to six off three, and Axar finished it off with a six to snatch India a victory from the jaws of defeat.
2. MS Dhoni vs Sri Lanka (ODI), in Port of Spain, July 2013
MS Dhoni was at his very best during the finals of the 2013 West Indies Tri-Nation Series between India and Sri Lanka. It was a low-scoring affair, and Sri Lanka only managed to put 201 on board while batting first. Kumar Sangakkara scored a fighting 71 runs off 100 balls on a slow, spin-friendly wicket.
Opener Rohit Sharma laid a good foundation, scoring 58 off 89 balls at the top. But the chase was not straightforward for the Men in Blue as they were reduced to 167 for eight wickets in 41.5 overs and 182 for nine wickets in 46.2 overs.
It came all the way down to the last over, with India needing 15 off six balls. Shaminda Eranga was handed the ball, and it was MS Dhoni at the striker’s end. The first ball was a dot, making it 15 off five. And then came a six, four and six in the next three balls. Dhoni, as always, finished the game for India in a last-over thriller.
3. Dinesh Karthik vs Bangladesh (T20I), in Colombo, March 2018
The 2018 Nidhas T20 Tri-Series final between Bangladesh and India is one of the most memorable T20I games for Indian fans in recent years. Bangladesh scored a competitive total of 168 on a sticky wicket, thanks to Sabbir Rahman, who scored 77 off 50 balls.
In the second innings, India’s stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma scored 56 off 42 balls. The middle order failed to make a substantial contribution, lo and behold, India needed 34 off the last two overs. While Vijay Shankar was struggling at one end, it was Dinesh Karthik, on the other end, who came to India’s rescue.
Karthik scored 22 off the 19th over and brought down the equation to 12 off six balls. After the strike was rotated a few times, it came down to 5 off the last bowl. Soumya Sarkar bowled a wide half-volley, and Karthik pounced on it and smashed it over covers. It was a flat six as India crossed the line in style.
4. Hardik Pandya vs Australia (T20I), in Sydney, December 2020
This was yet another thrilling contest between India and Australia, a high-scoring affair, which came right down to the wire. Australia, after being put to bat first, scored 194 for the loss of five wickets. Opener Matthew Wade top-scored with 58 off 32 balls, and Steve Smith, at number three, chipped in with 46 off 38 balls.
Indian top three, all were among runs, and they were well on course to the finishing line. After 16.1 overs, the Asian side were on 149 for four wickets and needed 56 off 23 balls, and it was on Hardik Pandya and Shreyas Iyer.
It came down to 14 needed off the last over, and the ball was given to Daniel Sams. Pandya was on strike, and got a two, six and dot off the first three balls. With India needing six off three balls, Pandya launched one over the mid-wicket boundary and finished with 42 not out off 22 balls.
5. Harbhajan Singh vs Pakistan (ODI), in Dambulla, June 2010
It was an Asia Cup classic between India and Pakistan, which was a do-or-die game for the Men in Green. Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi won the toss and elected to bat first. Opener Salman Butt got Pakistan off to a good start, scoring 74. Kamran Akmal in the backend scored 51, helping his side post 267.
For India, it was opener Gautam Gambhir and skipper MS Dhoni who contributed with 83 and 56, respectively. But the pendulum started to swing the other way as India lost wickets at regular intervals and found themselves on 219 for six wickets in the 46th over.
Mohammad Amir was given the ball to defend seven off the last over, and India had Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh on the crease. Raina was out in the second ball, and it was all on the off-spinner. The equation came down to three off two balls with Harbhajan on strike. Amir bowled a short-of-length ball, and the Indian smashed it over the boundary on the on-side to win it for his team.
6. Irfan Pathan vs Sri Lanka (T20I), in Colombo, February 2007
Sri Lanka took on world champions India four months after the inaugural T20 World Cup. The hosts won the toss and elected to bat first. Skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan starred with the bat for the Lankans, scoring 61 off 47 balls. At the end of the innings, the Lankans posted 171 for four wickets.
India’s chase never got going as they lost wickets at regular intervals. Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh made some decent contributions but eventually got out in the 30s. After 15.1 overs, it seemed like it was curtains for the visitors as they were seven down for 115. India needed 56 off 29 balls, and on crease were Yusuf Pathan and his younger brother Irfan Pathan.
It was Yusuf, who initially led the counter-attack, and Irfan joined shortly after. The duo well and truly swung the game in India’s favour, and they only needed five off the last over. It was Sri Lanka’s go-to death bowler Lasith Malinga with the ball. Yusuf took a single off the first ball, and Pathan hit a flat six over mid-wicket off the second ball. As a result, India won the game in an emphatic fashion.