3 times Roelof van der Merwe defied his age in a cricket match

Roelof van der Merwe pulled off a superb catch in The Hundred on Thursday (Picture Credits: The Hundred via Twitter).
Roelof van der Merwe pulled off a superb catch in The Hundred on Thursday (Picture Credits: The Hundred via Twitter).

Roelof van der Merwe will turn 39 on New Year's Eve. Yet, the way he continues to leave a mark on the cricket field for whichever team he turns out makes you wonder if you're watching a 25-year-old in action.

The latest incident came during the ongoing season of The Hundred, where, turning out for Welsh Fire, he pulled off an outstanding catch to dismiss Birmingham Phoenix skipper Moeen Ali at Edgbaston on Thursday, August 10.

Ali miscued a pull off David Payne before Van der Merwe came forward from long-on to take the catch. He nearly made a hash of it but showed incredible reflexes to stick his right hand outward and cling on with a dive on the third attempt.

The catch left Joe Root, who was mic'd up as a commentator for this game, stunned at Van der Merwe's efforts. The left-arm spinner was miserly as ever with the ball too as he finished with 2/16 off the 15 deliveries he sent down. The Fire then chased down 113 with 15 deliveries to spare.

On the back of his catch which made heads turn, let's take a look at three other times Van der Merwe defied his age with his achievements on the cricket ground.

#1 Stunning catch to dismiss David Miller at T20 World Cup 2022

"The passport says he's old, his legs say he isn't" - that was Ian Smith's reaction to Van der Merwe's sensational catch when The Netherlands faced South Africa at the T20 World Cup 2022 in Adelaide. He couldn't have summed it up better.

South Africa were chasing 159 in their final Super 12 clash to seal a spot in the semifinals. A massive moment followed off the second ball of the 15th over sent down by Brandon Glover, one that ended up defining their campaign.

The dangerous David Miller miscued his shot, getting a top-edge behind square on the leg-side. Van der Merwe turned around and made a dash past the inner circle before pulling off a spectacular diving catch.

He flung the ball up in the air in delight, and with South Africa reeling at 112/5, they couldn't get the job done. It marked the biggest upset of the tournament as the Proteas went tumbling out of the race for the semifinals.

#2 Brilliant running catch off his own bowling in SA20

Van der Merwe turned out for the SunRisers Eastern Cape (SEC) in the inaugural edition of the SA20 league. He had a ball in their side's home fixture against Durban's Super Giants in Gqeberha, becoming the first bowler to register a five-wicket haul in the tournament.

While Van der Merwe finished with figures of 6/20, there was one particular moment that stood out. He flighted a full delivery outside the off-stump of Jason Holder in the ninth over, only for the West Indian all-rounder to shank it against the spin.

Van der Merwe had plenty of ground to cover, but he bolted into the leg-side and threw himself at the ball to complete an astounding catch. His reaction said it all - he was thrilled to bits - with SEC going on to win by a mammoth 124 runs.

#3 Finishes as joint-highest wicket-taker in the inaugural SA20

It turned out to be a dream SA20 season for Van der Merwe, who was plying his trade as an overseas player for the SunRisers. Returning to the country of his birth, he made the ball talk on tacky pitches while largely keeping batters quiet with his defensive speeds and lengths.

It all culminated in a campaign where Van der Merwe finished with 20 scalps from 10 matches at 9.55 apiece and a stunning economy rate of 5.61. He ended as the joint-highest wicket-taker alongside Anrich Nortje of the Pretoria Capitals.

The 38-year-old spinner proved that age truly is no more than a number, with his feat going on to help the SunRisers lift the cup at the first time of asking.

Is Roelof van der Merwe the most underrated T20 cricketer at present? Have your say in the comments section below!

Also read: "I really want to change that perception" - Dega Nischal 2.0 is determined to showcase his all-format prowess

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Edited by Sai Krishna
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