Is there a more thrilling sight for any cricket fan than to see the ball disappear over the ropes? There have been many memorable events across Cricket World Cups, such as 400+ scores, double centuries and 300+ run chases, but they are never devoid of monstrous sixes. With the 2023 World Cup fast approaching in India this year, we break down the top 10 batsmen who have hit the most sixes in ODI World Cups.
- 1 Most sixes in ODI World Cups: Breaking down the top 10
- 1.1 10. Aaron Finch, Australia (24 sixes)
- 1.2 9. Sourav Ganguly, India (25 sixes)
- 1.3 8. Eoin Morgan, England and Ireland (26 sixes)
- 1.4 7. Sachin Tendulkar, India (27 sixes)
- 1.5 6. Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka (27 sixes)
- 1.6 5. Herschelle Gibbs, South Africa (28 sixes)
- 1.7 4. Brendon McCullum, New Zealand (29 sixes)
- 1.8 3. Ricky Ponting, Australia (31 sixes)
- 1.9 2. AB de Villiers, South Africa (37 sixes)
- 1.10 1. Chris Gayle, West Indies (49 sixes)
Most sixes in ODI World Cups: Breaking down the top 10
Over the years, we have seen a steep rise of powerful pinch hitters who can hit the ball a long way. Sixes and boundaries add a lot of spice and entertainment to the game and can turn any dull cricket match exciting.
In Cricket World Cups, many high-profile players tend to play an aggressive form of cricket. While doing so, they crush the ball to all areas of the park and bring the crowd to their feet. Below, we look at the top 10 players in international cricket who have plundered the most sixes in ODI World Cups.
10. Aaron Finch, Australia (24 sixes)
A solidly built, aggressive batter from a country town in Victoria, Aaron Finch ascended to become Australia's ODI and T20I captain, leading his country to their first T20 World Cup triumph in 2021. Keeping his leadership skills aside, Finch was often known to throw caution to the wind and smashed most of his sixes on the off-side primarily through extra cover region.
Through his swashbuckling strokeplay, Finch set up a record for bagging the highest score in the shortest format of the game. However, he maintained a fairly impressive run in ODI cricket as well and ended his international career with a commendable strike rate of 87. During his World Cup years spanning, 2015-2019, Finch smashed 24 sixes in 18 innings, putting him at number 10 in our list of the most sixes in ODI World Cups.
9. Sourav Ganguly, India (25 sixes)
Sourav Ganguly, most famously called “Dada” (elder brother), was one of the most destructive openers produced by Indian cricket. He could attack effectively against the new ball and also take the attack to the spinners on a turning wicket.
To combat spin, Ganguly would often get his dancing shoes on and launch some big sixes over the bowler’s head. He relished more in taking on the spinners as opposed to taking on the quicks who would try to get the better of him from time to time. In his eight-year-long World Cup journey, Ganguly smashed 25 sixes in 21 innings.
8. Eoin Morgan, England and Ireland (26 sixes)
Morgan represented Ireland and England in a multiple World Cup editions. While he only represented Ireland once in the World Cup in 2007, Morgan had a great deal of success during his stint with England and represented them in 2011, 2015, and 2019 World Cup editions. He played some entertaining cricket throughout his World Cup years and was never incompetent enough to launch some scintillating sixes.
Morgan was recognised as a cricketer of rare unorthodox talent, who played the ball exceptionally late and was adroit both at sweeping and reverse sweeping. During the 2019 ICC World Cup, he scored the highest number of sixes in an ODI innings, with 17 sixes against Afghanistan. In his entire World Cup journey spanning 2007-2015, Morgan smashed 26 sixes in 27 innings.
7. Sachin Tendulkar, India (27 sixes)
Sachin Tendulkar was a very busy cricketer and worked really hard for his runs. He had the ability to switch gears as per the prevailing situation of the game. Besides, he was never shy of taking on any world-class operator be it McGrath, Akhtar, or Muralidaran.
One of Tendulkar’s major batting strengths, and what gets him onto this list of the most sixes in ODI World Cups, was his ability to pull the ball cleanly against any bowling attack. His six against Shoaib Akhtar in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa over deep point was one of the most unbelievable shots ever to be played by any top-order batsmen.
In his long accomplished career, Sachin made six World Cup appearances and scored a substantial number of runs in the form of sixes. He ended his World Cup stint with a tally of 27 sixes in 44 innings.
6. Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka (27 sixes)
Jayasuriya was one of the most renowned spin-bowling all-rounders of his time who served Sri Lanka cricket with utmost diligence. Although he could be a great asset with the ball, Jayasuriya's powerful stroke play was something to behold. His fireworks with the bat have floored several bowling oppositions over the years, and put him at number six in our list of the most sixes in ODI World Cups.
Jayasuriya could play spanking covers drives and lofted shots on the leg side and at the same time score briskly in every form of the game. Just like his counterpart Tendulkar, Jayasuriya also had a memorable international career that saw him soar to new heights. In five World Cup appearances from 1992-2007, Jayasuriya amassed 27 sixes in just 37 innings.
5. Herschelle Gibbs, South Africa (28 sixes)
Gibbs was a powerful top-order opening Protea batter who was known to play some outrageous strokes way ahead of his time. Some of his most famous shots included a pull on the front foot, lofted cut shots through point for a six, and straight hits down the ground.
The South African turned his beast mode on in the 2007 World Cup edition by setting up a unique record against Netherlands – smashing six consecutive sixes in an over. He became the only player in the history of the World Cup to ever achieve such an extraordinary milestone. Gibbs finished his World Cup campaigns with a tally of 28 sixes in just 23 innings.
Read also: 6 ball 6 six record list
4. Brendon McCullum, New Zealand (29 sixes)
Brendon blossomed very late in his international career but he made sure that he finished his career on a high. The former Black Caps skipper was naturally very aggressive and an innovative cricketer who had all the shots in his book to terrorize the bowlers. He was brash, brutal, and brilliant to watch as McCullum could bruise bowling attacks like only a few others in international cricket.
Some of McCullum’s most famous shots include the ramp shot over fine leg, flat bat pull over mid-wicket, and the straight bat hit down the ground. During his World Cup years spanning 2003-2015, Brendon smashed an extraordinary amount of sixes, making 29 in just 27 innings.
3. Ricky Ponting, Australia (31 sixes)
Ponting was one of the most successful run machines ever to be produced by Cricket Australia. Although most of his runs came in the form of boundaries and meticulous strike rotation, Ponting was never afraid of playing the big shots. Ponting played all the shots with a full flourish of the bat. The cover drive and the pull were particularly productive for him as he knew only to attack.
With over 160 sixes in ODI cricket, Ponting propelled Australia to glory in the 1999, 2003, and 2007 World Cup editions via his batting and his uncanny leadership qualities. In five World Cup editions in total, Punter smashed a tally of 31 sixes in 42 innings.
2. AB de Villiers, South Africa (37 sixes)
Also regarded as Mr. 360, AB was not only a power stroke player but also an intelligent batter who could improvise whenever the situation called for it. AB de Villiers was named as the ICC ODI Player of the Year three times during his 15-year international career and was one of the five Wisden cricketers of the decade at the end of 2019. He is regarded as one of the greatest cricketers in the history of the sport and the best batsman of his era.
Throughout his international career, AB batted at various positions in the batting order, but predominantly in the middle order. Regarded as one of the most innovative and destructive batsmen in the modern era, de Villiers is known for a range of unorthodox shots, particularly behind the wicketkeeper. In only three World Cup editions, AB launched 37 sixes in 22 innings only.
1. Chris Gayle, West Indies (49 sixes)
And finally, topping our list of the most sixes in ODI World Cups, who other than “The Universe Boss”, Chris Gayle, with a colossal 49 sixes. It is worth noting that Gayle also holds the record for the most number of sixes (63) in T20Is as well.
Gayle is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most destructive batsmen to have played. Although he has endured a great run in T20 World Cups, his contribution in ODI cricket never went unnoticed. Among his many strengths, perhaps the biggest one was his outstanding hand-eye coordination, which allowed Gayle to regularly hit even good-length deliveries for boundaries. Technique and footwork weren’t his greatest assets, but most often he compensates with other skills.
As a tall and imposing figure at the crease, who loved to carve through the covers off either foot, Gayle had the ability to decimate the figures of even the thriftiest of opening bowlers. He has set numerous records across all three formats of the game, one of which was his unbeaten record of the most number of sixes in ODI World Cups. From 2003 to the 2019 World Cup editions, Gayle amassed 49 sixes in just 34 innings.
With no active players on this list of the most sixes in ODI World Cups, will we see a new addition to the top 10 list in the 2023 Cricket World Cup? The likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Shubman Gill, Glenn Phillips and Jonny Bairstow will all be licking their lips at the prospect of hooking into some bowling attacks in India this October, with any number of batsmen capable of rocketing their way onto this list over the coming months.