With 2020 starting out like a damp squib for the New Zealand cricket fans after the Test side slumped to a 0-3 defeat, T20 action back home in the form of the Super Smash did get the fans talking.
On the same day the Test was lost, Canterbury batsman Leo Carter entered the record books by becoming only the first New Zealander and fourth batsman overall to hit six sixes in an over in a T20 game.
Chasing 220 against the Northern Knights, Canterbury needed 64 off the last five overs with seven wickets in hand. Skipper Cole McConchie had to up the ante along with Leo Carter in the middle in order to power his side home against a strong bowling attack comprising of Scott Kuggeleijn, Ish Sodhi, Brett Randell and Anurag Verma.
In order to lure the batsmen into big shots, former Blackcaps all-rounder and a part-time left-arm spinner Anton Devcich was thrown the ball. He would have hoped to come away with a handy economy or a wicket at best. However, what followed was an absolute nightmare and an over he would want to forget in a hurry.
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Carter dispatched all the six deliveries over the leg-side boundary- three over deep square leg, two over deep mid-wicket and one over long on-to bring down the equation to 28 off 24 balls. In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, Leo Carter casts his mind back to the game a few days ago and speaks about achieving the rare feat.
"With 64 needed off 30 balls, I knew we needed a big over. I saw the left-arm spinner come on and talked to my batting partner (Cole McConchie) who confirmed that this was the over I needed to take on.”
Carter was batting on 11 off 12 deliveries before he launched the attack to sway the game in his side's favour at the Hagley Oval. He eventually finished with 70 off 29 balls -his maiden T20 fifty. He recalls how hastily he had to face the last ball of Devcich’s over as his fifth six caused a casualty in the crowd turning it into a bitter-sweet moment.
"A little kid had got hit on the fifth six so I was worried about him and called out to our Physio to tend to him. So, the sixth ball actually came around quite fast. Didn’t have a lot of time to think about it”
Wild celebrations entailed but had to be subdued until the game was fully won and formalities completed.
“The feeling at the end was awesome with all my teammates and coaches so happy. Most importantly we won the game from nowhere, that was a great feeling"
Incidentally, Carter made his T20 debut against the same side back in 2015 which also featured Anton Devcich. He has gone on to play 25 first-class games, 20 List A fixtures and 28 T20s.
Before Carter, only three batsmen had achieved the rare feat in a T20. Yuvraj Singh famously smoked Stuart Broad for six sixes in 2007 and was followed by Worcestershire’s Ross Whiteley against Yorkshire’s left-arm spinner Karl Carver in 2017 before Hazratullah Zazai treated another left-arm spinner, Abdullah Mazari in a similar fashion in 2018.
If history is anything to go by, such a feat has swayed a player's fortunes with massive gains. Carter can certainly hope that he will soon be clocking air miles as a T20 globetrotter, much like Devcich has all these years.Published 12 Jan 2020, 00:57 IST