How did Indian batsman Axar Patel score 12 runs off one ball?

Strictly speaking, in all forms of cricket, six is the maximum number of runs that can be scored from one ball, so you might think that 12 runs off one ball must involve a five-run penalty of some kind. Such penalties can be imposed by the umpire on the fielding team – or the batting team, for that matter – for various indiscretions, such as illegal fielding or the ball, while still in play, striking an unused protective helmet belonging to the fielding side.

However, Axar Patel scored 12 runs off what was effectively one ball without any penalty runs during a One Day International (ODI) match between India and Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on January 12, 2023. After 36 overs, India were 168-5 in response to a modest Sri Lankan total of 215 all out and therefore required 48 off 84 balls to win. Facing fellow bowling all-rounder Chamika Karunaratne, Patel drove the second delivery of the next over to the cover boundary for four runs. However, Karunaratne had also marginally overstepped the popping crease with his front foot, so the third umpire signalled a no-ball which, of course, is followed by a ‘free hit’.

Going back over the wicket, Karunaratne compounded his error by bowling a short ball that bounced above head height, well outside the off-stump and was called a wide. That took the total to six runs off one ball, so far, but India retained a free hot and Patel took full advantage. For his third attempt, Karunaratne bowled another short ball, this time a steepling bouncer on a good line. However, Patel nonchalantly rocked on the back foot and pulled the ball into the stands beyond the wide long-on boundary for six, making it 12 runs off one ball. For the record, India made 219-6 off 43.2 overs, thereby winning by four wickets with 40 balls to spare.

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