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Ben Stokes' brilliant one-handed catch on the boundary: Out or Six?

Did Ben Stokes' leg touch the boundary when he took AB de Villiers' catch?

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes is mobbed by his teammates after the catch

In the 1st ODI between South Africa and England at Bloemfontein, Ben Stokes took a brilliant one-handed catch at long-on to dismiss AB de Villiers. The South African skipper was dismissed for just 8 and it was a defining moment in the match.

In the 20th over of South Africa’s innings, with the hosts having lost 2 wickets, they needed 22 runs from the over to be above par on the Duckworth-Lewis (D/L) method. With rain in the air, the Proteas thought they had to go for runs in the over.

De Villiers was on strike and English off-spinner Moeen Ali was entrusted with the responsibility of bowling the crucial over. The world’s number one ODI batsman has no problem in hitting the first ball of the over to the square-leg boundary for a four.

After scoring no run off the 2nd delivery of the over, de Villiers decided to go for the big shot – he charged Ali and hit a full delivery towards the long-on boundary. It looked destined to be a six until Stokes unbelievably plucked out the ball with his right hand.

Everyone at the stadium was astounded by what they had just seen. Some of the faces in the crowd were just priceless.

After the dismissal, though, there was a huge discussion between the commentators if the catch was legal. There was heavy wind at the stadium due to thundershowers in nearby areas and the boundary ropes were forcefully moved around by the wind.

Ben Stokes catch
The darkened green area of the field is where the rope is supposed to have been

As you see in the above picture, the boundary rope was not uniform and definitely not where it had to be. But whether Stokes’ leg was on the piece of ground where the boundary rope should have ideally been is open to debate.

There also have been suggestions that if the boundary rope was stationed where it was supposed to be, then Stokes wouldn’t have backed up so much as he was in complete control of his movement.

Whatever the case is, Stokes’ catch will remain in the minds of cricket fans for a very long time.

In the end, England would go on to win the match by 39 runs via the D/L method – a system that has haunted South Africa for a number of years now.

You can watch the catch here:

Ben Stokes takes a stunning catch!

THIS. IS. UNREALWhat more can you say?Ben Stokes takes a stunner!See #SAvENG on SS2 now!skysports.tv/2hwoN8

Posted by Sky Sports on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
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