TO the names of Garry Sobers, Ravi Shastri, Herschelle Gibbs and Yuvraj Singh can be added that of Ross Whiteley.
The 28-year-old Worcestershire batsman, born in Sheffield, yesterday became only the fifth man to hit six sixes in an over in senior cricket.
He inflicted the punishment on Karl Carver, the 21-year-old Yorkshire left-arm spinner, who thus joined fellow unfortunates Malcolm Nash, Tilak Raj, Daan van Bunge and Stuart Broad in the hall of infamy.
It said everything for the overall quality of Yorkshire’s performance, however, that the hosts still won by 37 runs on the back of a brilliant 118 by England’s David Willey, which eclipsed the previous highest T20 innings for Yorkshire of 109 by Ian Harvey against Derbyshire at Headingley in 2005.
Willey’s hundred, the fifth for the club in T20 after Harvey (twice), Herschelle Gibbs and Jonny Bairstow, faced 55 balls and struck nine fours and eight sixes.
His innings helped Yorkshire to 233-6, eclipsing the club’s previous highest T20 total of 227-5 against Notts at Headingley in the opening game of this year’s tournament.
On any other day, Willey’s tour de force – and Yorkshire’s outstanding batting display – would have been the headline news.
But not everyday is a world record equalled, with Whiteley achieving the first instance of six sixes in an over in first team cricket in England, with Sobers having performed the feat at Swansea and the other occurrences taking place overseas.
“I had the mentality to go after everything before I came to the crease,” said Whiteley, a powerful left-hander who accomplished the feat in the 16th over.
“It was all or nothing at that stage (Worcestershire needed 98 runs from the last five overs), and unfortunately for the bowler there was a short leg-side boundary (towards the West Stand).
“I hit the first one out of the screws and I needed to go for the team, not just for the personal achievement.
“It’s something I’ll look back on and be very proud of, although losing the match was tough to take.”
Whiteley’s first six was thumped straight back down the ground towards the Football Stand.
His second went over mid-wicket, his third over long-off, his fourth over mid-wicket, his fifth went straight and his sixth was pulled.
Carver also bowled a wide in between the second and third sixes, meaning the over went for 37.
Whiteley went on to the top score of 65 – which included two more sixes and two fours in a 26-ball innings – before Willey had him caught at deep cover by Jack Leaning, the visitors closing on 196-7, Joe Clarke making 51 and Adil Rashid and Tim Bresnan each taking two wickets.
The first part of the match was all about Willey, whose hundred was his second in T20 after he made 100 for Northants against Sussex at Hove in the 2015 quarter-final.
If you were going to design the perfect T20 player, it would probably look something like the dynamic left-hander, who is devastating with the bat, destructive with the ball and deadly in the field – a three-dimensional cricketer, if ever there was one.
Willey, who reached his century from 49 balls, struck five of his sixes down the ground and the other three over the leg-side.
Yorkshire’s innings included 18 fours and 13 sixes – exactly 150 of their runs – as they royally entertained a crowd of 6,628 on a muggy afternoon.
Alex Lees set the tone for an orgy of run-scoring when he launched the first six of the day in the second over off pace bowler John Hastings, the straight drive sending the ball on to the roof of the Football Stand, where it bounced around like a pinball before disappearing from sight.
Lees was one of two changes to the side that beat Birmingham Bears on Friday along with Carver, with Lees replacing fellow batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore (unavailable as part of the deal that took him from Worcestershire to Yorkshire last month) and Carver preferred to pace bowler Ben Coad.
Lees was bowled by Hastings in the same over but Yorkshire enjoyed a terrific powerplay, reaching 78-1 from six overs as Willey and Adam Lyth showed their quality.
Lyth scored 31 from 23 before holing out to long-off, while overseas players Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb fell to catches on the boundary and Leaning to a catch behind.
Willey, who was finally bowled in the penultimate over trying to scoop through third man, was dropped on 46 and 58 but deserved his luck.
The first chance was tough, George Rhodes initially catching a straight drive off the excellent spinner Mitch Santner in front of the Carnegie pavilion only for his momentum to carry him towards the rope.
Rhodes threw the ball back into play and Whiteley, the long-on fielder, made a valiant effort to grab the rebound.
Hastings, the unlucky bowler, might have taken the second chance at cover diving forward off Santner, with Willey making the visitors pay in no uncertain terms.