Well, hero-to-zero moments really don’t get any bigger than this.
The hero in question was Sri Lanka’s Akila Dananjaya, who claimed a T20I hat-trick against the West Indies on Thursday (AEDT) in his return to international cricket.
The all-rounder last played an international in September 2019, but came back with a bang in Antigua by removing Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran with consecutive balls in his second over.
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His third over?
It went for 36.
Kieron Pollard completed the perfect set, blasting six sixes in an all-time brutal counterpunch for the hosts.
He is only the third person to ever achieve the feat in international cricket, joining Herschelle Gibbs and Yuvraj Singh.
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“Not sure many bowlers in the history of cricket would want to forget the day they took a hat-trick,” wrote Cricbuzz journalist Bharat Sundaresan. “Akila Dananjaya might come the closest.
“Hat-trick followed by being hit for six sixes in the next over. Talk of cricket being the greatest leveller but to this extent?”
Pollard got out the next ball he faced the following over, but was still named man-of-the-match for his 38 off 11 balls.
Dananjaya, meanwhile, finished with figures of 3-62.
It was the most expensive four-over spell by any bowler in the Caribbean — beating Ireland bowler Barry McCarthy’s 0-55 last year — and the third-most ever by a Sri Lankan in a T20.
MORE TO COME
Sri Lanka, bidding to win a cricket match for the first time in a year, made a below-par 131-9 in the first innings
The tourists were put into bat by the 2012 and 2016 world champions whose line-up included 41-year-old batting star Gayle, playing his first game for the West Indies in two years.
Pathum Nissanka marked his Sri Lanka debut with a top score of 39 off 34 balls with four boundaries and one of his team’s only three sixes.
The 22-year-old batsman shared a 51-run second wicket partnership with opener Niroshan Dickwella (33).
However, the tourists never got to grips with the accurate West Indies attack which featured 39-year-old fast bowler Fidel Edwards making his return to the team for the first time since 2012.
Left-arm fast bowler Obed McCoy, playing just his third T20 International, had the best figures of 2-25 from his four overs.
Jason Holder finished with an economical 1-19 while there was also a wicket for 21-year-old debutant off-spinner Kevin Sinclair who opened the bowling and claimed the wicket of Danushka Gunathilaka.
The second and third games in the series also take place at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on March 5 and 7.
The teams will then play three ODIs and two Tests.