10 most unbelievable catches in cricket history
The saying 'Catches win matches' has gained a lot of popularity over the years, thanks largely to the game-changing efforts of superhuman fielders.
The pioneer of athletic brilliance in the field, Jonty Rhodes, changed the course of several matches with his incredible efforts. Rhodes helped spread the word, and very soon captains all over the world started taking fitness and fielding drills seriously.
We've seen several breathtaking catches over the years, where the conviction and muscle memory shown by the fielders - sometimes in less than a split second - have to be seen to be believed. On that note, let's take a look at the 10 most unbelievable catches in cricket history.
(Note: The list is in no particular order).
#1 Ben Stokes vs South Africa (ICC Cricket World Cup 2019)
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has proven himself to be quite the remarkable fielder. His catch in the deep against South Africa, during the opening game of the 2019 World Cup at the Kennington Oval, is widely regarded as one of the best ever.
England stamped their authority with a brilliant batting display, racking up 311 in their 50 overs. In reply, South Africa were down and out by the end of the 34th over, reeling at 180 for six.
It was then that Andile Phehlukwayo slog-swept Adil Rashid for what looked like a certain boundary. However, a flying Stokes took a one-handed blinder and landed smoothly on the ground.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain, on live commentary, said:
"No way, no no way! You cannot do this Ben Stokes. That is remarkable. That is one of the greatest catches of all time."
#6 Yuvraj Singh vs South Africa (Semi-Final, Champions Trophy 2002)
In the semi-finals of the 2002 Champions Trophy, Yuvraj Singh took a stunner to dismiss Graeme Smith.
Indian pacer Zaheer Khan had troubled Smith for a while before luring him into a lofted shot in the third over of the game. And Yuvraj, still relatively new to the international arena, leapt into the air to take arguably the best catch of his career.
Considered as a Champions Trophy classic, the match saw an inspired Indian side pull off an unlikely victory against a dangerous and in-form South African team. However, rain played spoilsport in the final and the trophy was shared between India and Sri Lanka.
[The catch can be watched from the 00:10 mark in the video]
#8 Yuvraj Singh vs Bangladesh (1st ODI, Chittagong, 2004)
The first ODI between Bangladesh and India at Chittagong in 2004 is remembered for many reasons.
Not only did India win the match by a small margin of 11 runs, but a young boy from Ranchi named MS Dhoni also made his ODI debut in the game. That said, Dhoni failed to open his account and was run-out for naught.
The other memorable aspect, of course, is Yuvraj Singh's catch at the point region to dismiss Mohammad Rafique.
Swing bowler Irfan Pathan was hit for a six in the same over but recovered brilliantly to take the wicket of Rafique, who scooped an uppish drive to a flying Yuvraj. The left-hander calculated his jump to perfection and took a brilliant one-handed catch.
#9 Mohammad Kaif Vs Pakistan (1st ODI, Karachi, 2004)
In a high-scoring thriller, Mohammad Kaif pulled off one of the most spectacular catches ever seen to script a historic triumph for India on their tour of Pakistan.
With 10 runs needed to win off 8 balls, Zaheer Khan targeted Shoaib Malik's pads, and the latter guided the ball straight up in the air. Even though he was nowhere close, Kaif came sprinting in from the long-off boundary to steal Hemang Badani's catch.
It could have possibly caused an unfortunate injury, but instead it turned into a moment of glory as India went on to win the match by five runs.
#10 Trent Boult vs West Indies (Windsor Park, 2014)
Trent Boult has been a real asset for the Kiwis - not only with the ball, but also in the field. His spectacular efforts along the boundary line have helped New Zealand win several big games. And one such incident occurred when the pacer removed Kieron Pollard through a combination of athleticism and reflexes at the mid-wicket boundary.
With West Indies tottering at 126 for three in the 18th over, Pollard decided to look for some big runs. He tried to pull a short delivery off Corey Anderson to the mid-wicket region.
It looked like a guaranteed six, but Boult jumped high to pluck the ball out of thin air. He knew he was going to trip over the boundary line, so he scooped the ball into the air before diving full-length to complete a match-winning catch.
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