Friday 28 September 2007 

Yuvraj Wins Battle Of The Big-Hitters

India left-hander claims longest blow; McMillan hits most maximums in tournament - 13; Misbah tops hit-parade in final; Pakistan hit most sixes; Jo'burg sees more blows over ropes than anywhere else

A winner's medal and his hands around the trophy are not the only things Yuvraj Singh can lay claim to after India's triumph in the recently completed ICC World Twenty20 South Africa 2007.

The left-hander can also say he hit the biggest six of the tournament.

Yuvraj's blow of 119 metres (m), one of five sixes he clobbered during a 30-ball innings of 70 against Australia in the semi-final at Kingsmead, Durban was the longest hit in the 27-match event.

And that is not a bad record to have when you consider it was one of a staggering 264 maximums struck over the ropes (along with 659 fours) during 14 days of superb entertainment.

Six of those maximums came from one over of Yuvraj magic when he hit England's Stuart Broad all over Kingsmead on the way to a 12-ball half-century.

But despite his big hitting feats, the India batsman did not hit the most sixes in the tournament.

That achievement belongs to New Zealand's Craig McMillan as the Black Caps player muscled a remarkable 13 balls into the crowd during his side's progress to the semi-finals.

McMillan finished one six clear of Yuvraj at the head of affairs while Chris Gayle's ten sixes in his spectacular 117 from just 57 balls in the tournament opener against South Africa was enough to earn him joint third spot in the list alongside Australia's Matthew Hayden and the home side's Justin Kemp.

Misbah-ul-Haq came mighty close to denying Yuvraj and his team-mates that winning feeling in the final thanks to a brilliant innings of 43 and although it will be of little consolation to him, the Pakistan player hit the biggest six in that pulsating encounter.

One of Misbah's four sixes in his 38-ball innings flew 100m and Pakistan hit eight sixes to India's four in the match, but despite that impressive tally it still finished on the losing side by five runs.

Pakistan struck more sixes than any other team - 41 - just one ahead of New Zealand and three clear of India, although Mahendra Singh Dhoni's line-up did have one match washed out, against Scotland in Durban.

Shoaib Malik's side also struck more fours than any other team - 95 - one clear of India and 17 in front of Australia.

The final threw up some interesting six-hitting facts. India's Yusuf Pathan hit a six from his first ball in international cricket with an 82m blow, as did Sohail Tanvir of Pakistan, who opened up with a hit of 80m.

Tanvir only played two scoring strokes during his four-ball innings and both of them were sixes, with an 85m blow to go with his earlier effort.

The venue for the final, The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, was the one most favoured by the big-hitters during the tournament.

It witnessed 104 blows over the ropes, while Durban saw 86 and Cape Town 74.

That statistic backed up the theory that the ball would fly further in Johannesburg because of the thinner air as it is around 2000m above sea-level.

All the same, it was Durban that saw most sixes in one match, the 20 (10 by each side) struck in the Australia - India semi-final.

The ability to determine how far each six was hit during the ICC World Twenty20 was the result of technology employed by the ICC's new broadcast partner ESPN STAR Sports.

And reflecting on it, ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed said: "When a six is struck - and it happened pretty regularly in the ICC World Twenty20 - people will often say 'that's a big hit' but not know just how big it really is.

"Now, thanks to the technology used by ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) we all know the answer and for the first time it's been possible to compare one hit against another.

"The measurement of the length of each six struck has been one of a number of exciting innovations by ESS in its coverage and I think there is no doubt it enhanced the enjoyment of viewers."

Brian Murgatroyd
© ICC