Hitting sixes is the quickest way to score runs in cricket and there are some players who have a penchant for plundering the ball to record distances.
While just smacking the ball directly outside the boundary line is considered a six, there have been numerous instances where players utilise all their muscles to send the ball deep into the stands or sometimes outside the stadium.
Here, we look at the biggest sixes in cricket history.
Shahid Afridi - 153m | Pakistan vs South Africa, 2021
Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi unofficially holds the record for the longest six in cricket history when he cleared 153 metres against South Africa in the third ODI at Johannesburg on March 17, 2013.
The biggest six in cricket came in the fourth ball of the 35th over. Shahid Afridi had already hit Ryan McLaren for 12 runs in four deliveries. With the pressure mounting, McLaren gave away two extra runs before conceding the six.
McLaren gifted Afridi a length ball, and the former Pakistan captain smashed it over the roof and out of the stadium. Afridi, who once held the record for the fastest ODI century, scored 88 off just 48 balls, chasing a mammoth 344 set by the South Africa cricket team. But Pakistan lost the match by 34 runs.
Years later, however, the six was recorded in the ICC books at 120 metres.
Brett Lee - 130-135m | Australia vs West Indies, 2005
The official record for the longest six in cricket history belongs to Australia’s Brett Lee, who crossed the rope by some 130-135 meters. This came against the West Indies in 2005 in a Test match at the Gabba. Facing Daren Powell, Brett Lee sent the ball over the roof of the stands and into the practice nets outside the stadium. It is said that the ball travelled nearly 135 meters.
"It just felt pretty good... I almost got cleaned up with the other bullet and it missed my throat by a centimetre. If the ball’s there to hit, and they keep bowling short and then you try to have a crack at one, it just came off the middle," Brett Lee said after the match.
Brett Lee scored 47 off 82 as Australia won the match by 379 runs.
Martin Guptill - 127m | New Zealand vs South Africa, 2012
In 2012, New Zealand’s Martin Guptill smashed South Africa’s Lonwabo Tsotsobe for a six that travelled 127 metres over the midwicket boundary. Chasing 148 runs, opener Martin Guptill took on the bowlers from the get-go.
In the sixth over, Guptill hit Tsotsobe for 102m before sending it even further to 127m on the penultimate delivery. The ball hit the roof of the stand of the Westpac Stadium in Wellington and rolled back onto the ground. The Kiwi batter ended with an unbeaten 78 off 55 to guide New Zealand to a six-wicket win.
Liam Livingstone - 122m | England vs Pakistan, 2021
England's Liam Livingstone smashed Pakistan's Haris Rauf for a massive 122 metres six during the second T20I at Headingley in 2021. Well known for his power-hitting, Liam Livingstone smacked the first ball of the 16th over straight above Haris Rauf's head to clear the roof and land on a rugby pitch near the stadium. The batter's brisk 38 helped England put 200 on the board, which proved enough in the end as England won the match by 45 runs.
Corey Anderson - 122m | New Zealand vs India, 2014
During the first ODI between New Zealand and India at Napier in 2014, Kiwi batter Corey Anderson smashed India's Mohammed Shami to a 122m six in the 44th over. Corey Anderson hit the ball over the square leg boundary to land the ball on the roof of the stadium.
Corey Anderson made 68 not-out to take New Zealand to 292/7 in 50 overs and take home the Player of the Match award. India could only muster up 268.
Mark Waugh - 120m | Australia vs Pakitan, 1999
Mark Waugh held the record for the longest six in cricket history for a long time. The Australian had cleared the rope by 120 metres in a Test match against New Zealand at Perth in 1999. Mark Waugh hit Daniel Vettori straight down the ground for a monstrous six to etch his name in the record books.
Longest six in cricket history
|3||Martin Guptill||New Zealand||127m||2012|
|10||Chris Gayle||West Indies||116m||2010|
Longest six in domestic cricket
Playing for Victorian Bushrangers at the WACA in a T20 final in 2008, Aiden Blizzard hit the ball with such power that the ball glided over the square leg boundary and travelled 130 meters. This is the biggest six hit in the domestic cricket circuit.
Also that year, Albie Morkel, playing for Chennai in the Indian T20 League, hit spinner Pragyan Ojha over the mid-wicket region for a huge six that travelled 124 metres and outside the Chepauk stadium.
In the 2011 edition of the Indian T20 League, Australian opener Adam Gilchrist, playing for Punjab hit former South African seamer Charl Langeveldt for a six that crossed the rope by 122 metres in Dharamshala.
Victor Trumper, an Australian cricketer who played for his national team in 48 Tests, was batting for Paddington in a club match in 1903 and hit the ball with such a brute that it not only crossed the distance of around 120–125 meters, but it also broke a second-storey window across the street.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Asif Hassan