72 days to go: When Herschelle Gibbs got Johnnie Walker to donate a million dollars

The 2007 World Cup encounter between South Africa and Netherlands saw something that had never been done in international cricket.

Published: 19th March 2019 05:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 05:29 PM   |  A+A-

Herschelle Gibbs

Gibbs' 72 was memorable in more ways than one (File | AFP)

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What would you do for a million dollars? We all know what we would do with a million dollars but what would you do for a million dollars? Now, that's the million-dollar question, isn't it?

Would what you do change if you found out that the money won't go to you but to a charity? Maybe, maybe not.

Irrespective of what you would do, Herschelle Gibbs did something incredible to not just complete a million-dollar challenge but also enter the record books during the 2007 World Cup encounter between South Africa and the Netherlands by doing something that had never been done in international cricket.

What did he do? Oh, nothing major. Just six sixes in an over in a World Cup game. Up until then, no one had ever done that in international cricket and only Sir Garfield Sobers and Ravi Shastri had managed the feat in first-class matches.

It all happened during the 30th over of the South African innings when no one expected it. The unfortunate victim was Daan van Bunge and coming in to bowl his fourth over, nothing could have prepared him for what was to happen next.

With South Africa well set at 178/2 in 29 overs and Gibbs ticking along at 32 off 30 balls, this came like a bolt from the blue.

The first ball was charged down and hoisted over long on. The perfect start but what followed was complete carnage. The second one was smashed over long off and the third was flatter but still went over the ropes at long off.

Three in three and the fourth ball was a low full toss that was smashed over deep mid-wicket. The next was slightly shorter and outside but Gibbs still went after it, this time, swatting it like a forehand but way over long off.

Then it was the moment of truth, full and outside off, Gibbs knew where he wanted to put this one and he deposited this over mid-wicket and just like that history was made.

Johnnie Walker, who before the tournament announced that they would donate US$1 million to charity if any batsman hits six sixes in an over, remained true to their word. Following Gibbs' exploits, they announced that they "couldn't be more thrilled with donating US$1 million to Habitat for Humanity in our efforts to enrich the Caribbean community".

Netherlands captain, Luuk van Troost was even able to take the whole thing in stride as he said: "Before the game we said let's make history today, well, we made history!"

Soon after his record-breaking exploits, Gibbs was dismissed for 72 by van Troost. But the damage was already done and the million-dollar challenge was successfully completed by a batsman who once claimed he returned to form on the back of "a pizza and a couple of Jack Daniels".


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