There is a famous saying in cricket that “Catches win matches” and it’s not wrong, especially in the context of modern-day cricket. The modern-day cricketers are so athletic that not only do they make a difference with bat and ball; they pull off unthinkable catches as well and change the complexion of the game inside out.
Fielding is actually one of the criteria which the coaches and the captains are starting to take into consideration these days while picking a player or while preferring one player over another.
Let’s talk about some sensational field efforts of the cricketers this year. Here are the 5 best catches of 2019-
#1 Ben Stokes
England had posted a total of 311 on the board against South Africa in the first game of the ODI World Cup 2019 and the game was hanging in balance with the all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo holding the fort for South Africa.
But, Ben Stokes, with an absolute blinder at the deep midwicket boundary, sent Phehlukwayo packing and ended all hopes of South Africa.
It was a crisp slog sweep which had come out of the middle of Phehlukwayo’s bat and Stokes was a few steps inside the boundary
The ball was comfortably going over him for a six, but with a huge leap like a Football goalkeeper, Stokes managed to get to the ball with one hand. Not only did he hold the ball safely, but Stokes also made sure it didn’t come out of his hand as he fell onto the ground.
#2 Quinton de Kock
India were chasing down a target of 228 in the 8th game of the ODI World Cup 2019 against South Africa and they had lost the wicket of KL Rahul early. The captain Virat Kohli, who walked in at 3, was trying to stitch together a partnership with Rohit Sharma and the duo seemed to be getting along quite nicely.
But, suddenly a ball bounced a bit too much from the good length area and got big on Kohli who was trying to dab it to the third man. The ball took the outside edge of the bat and was going towards first slip, but Quinton de Kock, the keeper, just flew across to his right and pulled off an absolute ripper with one-hand.
#3 Sarfraz Ahmed
Pakistan were playing a do-or-die match against New Zealand in the ODI World Cup 2019. They were bowling first and had managed to dismiss a couple of New Zealand batsmen early. They needed to build onto that momentum with the ball with another wicket.
Shaheen Afridi was bowling well as he was getting the ball to move away from the right-handers with his steep angle from over the wicket. Ross Taylor, one of the batsmen at the crease, was in visible discomfort against Afridi.
Eventually, Taylor edged one and it flew towards Sarfraz behind the stumps. The Pakistan captain, with a full-stretch dive towards his right, pouched it with one hand. It wouldn’t have carried to first slip if Sarfraz hadn’t gone for it.
#4 Sheldon Cottrell
After bailing his team out of trouble with a timely half-century in the World Cup game against West Indies, Steve Smith was trying to accelerate in the latter phase of the innings and he played a lofted whip towards square leg.
Although he was in an awkward position while playing it, he made such good connection that the ball seemed to be going over the ropes.
But, Sheldon Cottrell, who was positioned at fine leg, had other ideas. He ran about 20 meters from his position and caught the ball with one hand on the run.
#5 Kieron Pollard
This one was in the IPL 2019. The arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians were going loggerheads. The latter had batted first and posted 170 on the board which was respectable, but wasn’t out of reach for CSK.
Removing Suresh Raina early was vital for Mumbai as he was one of the batsmen who could have taken the game away from them. But, a little bit of magic from Kieron Pollard at the cover-point boundary paved the exit way for Raina.
Raina was trying to hit a six over the off side by using the pace of the ball, but he couldn’t get it off the meat of the willow.
It came from the upper half of the bat and although it still seemed good enough for a six, Kieron Pollard with a high jump at the boundary, almost a foot and half more than his height, plucked it out of thin air.