In a cricket match, many moments simply change the whole momentum of the game and bring a twist to the game quite often. A crucial catch at the right time can be considered one such moment. Over the years, we have witnessed some spectacular catches that have changed the whole complexion of the game and have proven to be great turning points.
In general, batting or bowling are considered the main aspects that teams tend to focus on during a match. However, recently we have seen how some great fielding efforts can play a major role in deciding the fate of the game. Especially in the limited over formats, fielding has become an important factor that teams need to focus on quite majorly.
Players like Jonty Rhodes, AB de Villiers, and Ravindra Jadeja have proven quite often that great fielding efforts do play a crucial role in a match, and fielding is an equally important aspect when compared to batting as well as bowling. Jonty Rhodes is known as one of the greatest fielders in the history of cricket who changed the approach towards fielding during a time when fielding was neglected to a large extent. Currently, teams have been paying a lot of attention to the fielding aspect and are focusing more on the fitness level of the players.
Now we’ll be looking at some outstanding catches in the history of cricket that have completely changed the course of the game. As we all know, CATCHES WIN MATCHES!
Top catches in cricket history
Kapil Dev’s outstanding catch in the 1983 World Cup
When talking about the best catches in cricket, the first one that comes to mind has to be Kapil Dev’s catch in the 1983 World Cup Final. India was facing a dominant West Indies team in the final and had set a target of just 184 in a 60-over match. While trying to defend such a low total in the second innings, Kapil Dev took an outstanding catch running back towards the boundary line, to dismiss Viv Richards. It turned out to be a game-changing moment since Viv Richards was in great form, already scoring 33 runs in 28 balls with seven boundaries, and was considered to be the backbone of the West Indies’ batting lineup.
Richards was a major threat to the Indian bowlers but Kapil Dev managed to dismiss him off Madan Lal’s bowling. Also, Viv Richards’ key wicket led to the downfall of the West Indies batting lineup and India lifted the World Cup trophy for the first time by beating them by 43 runs.
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Sreesanth’s game-changing catch in the 2007 T20 World Cup
Another great catch in a World Cup Final was that of Sreesanth. The 2007 T20 World Cup was the first ever T20 World Cup and the finalists were all-time rivals, India and Pakistan. This nail-biting match was going in favor of Pakistan when they needed 6 runs off 4 balls for the win. Misbah-ul-Haq had played a match-winning innings by scoring a crucial 43 off 38 balls and had stayed on the crease until the last wicket was remaining.
When Pakistan was just one hit away from winning the inaugural T20 World Cup, Misbah tried to clear the boundary with a ramp shot off Joginder Sharma’s bowling but couldn’t connect properly. The ball went straight into the hands of Sreesanth who was at short fine leg.
Even though it wasn’t a very difficult catch to hold onto, it was a crucial catch that completely shifted the momentum of the match towards India when they were under immense pressure and could see the match slipping through their hands. Even today, Sreesanth is mostly known for taking the catch that made India lift the first ever T20 World Cup trophy.
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Ben Stokes’ unbelievable catch in the 2019 World Cup
Ben Stokes, who is known for his great fielding efforts over the last few years, took an unbelievable one-handed catch in the 2019 World Cup. England was facing South Africa in a group stage match and was dominating in the field. Andile Phehlukwayo tried to sweep the ball for a six off Adil Rashid’s bowling, but Stokes perfectly timed the jump and completed a one-handed catch by diving near the boundary.
Chris Lynn’s breathtaking catch in IPL 2014
One of the most sensational game-changing catches in IPL history has to be Chris Lynn’s. In the 2014 season of IPL, KKR was playing against RCB during a league stage match. KKR had set a target of 151 and RCB needed 6 runs off 3 balls when Chris Lynn took a stunner. AB de Villiers, who is known to be one of the best finishers in cricket, was on strike and tried to finish the game with two balls to spare. But on the boundary line, Lynn who had slipped a few seconds before the catch, somehow at that moment managed to grab the cricket ball one-handed by diving backwards and ensuring that he doesn’t touch the boundary line.
Kieron Pollard’s stunning catch in IPL 2014
Another breathtaking catch in the IPL 2014 season was taken by Kieron Pollard. Mumbai Indians were playing against Rajasthan Royals and Pollard’s West Indian teammate Kevon Cooper looked to hit a six off Harbhajan Singh. Pollard was on the boundary and grabbed the ball with one hand. However, he was so close to the boundary that he was about to lose his balance and that is when he threw the ball in the air, and from outside the boundary he dived into the field to complete a stunning catch.
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Evin Lewis’ one-handed stunner in IPL 2022
Evin Lewis recently took an outstanding catch a few months back in the IPL 2022 season. Newcomers Lucknow Super Giants were facing KKR towards the end of the league stage and Lucknow had set a mammoth target of 211 thanks to Quinton de Kock’s 140 knocks in just 70 deliveries. KKR came quite close and needed 3 runs in just 2 balls to win. Rinku Singh, who was playing a match-winning cameo, mistimed the shot and Evin Lewis came running to grab the catch. Completing the catch was looking quite impossible at that moment but Lewis just stuck his left hand out and took a one-handed stunner to dismiss Rinku.
That was the moment that changed the match and led to Lucknow winning their last match of the league stage. It was quite an important catch as Lucknow’s win sealed their playoff spot and they finished 3rd in the points table.
Harleen Deol’s sensational catch against England
When talking about women’s cricket, there are some great catches that we have witnessed over the years. Most of these catches have been taken by Indian women cricketers. One of them includes the outstanding fielding effort by Harleen Deol in 2021 against England. England’s Amy Ellen Jones, who was playing a fantastic knock, went for a six but Harleen managed onto the ball. She was losing her momentum at that point and was about to touch the boundary line, however, she threw the ball up and dived inside to complete the catch.
Smriti Mandhana’s magnificent catch against England
Another great fielding effort was displayed by Smriti Mandhana against England in 2021. England’s Natalie Sciver who was just one run short of completing her half-century tried to clear the boundary, but Smriti Mandhana on the boundary ran a few yards and made a full- length dive towards the left to pull off one of the best catches in women’s cricket history.
These were only a few game-changing catches that we have seen over the years. Some other notable mentions include Paul Collingwood, Mohammad Kaif, AB de Villiers, Trent Boult, Dwayne Bravo, Suresh Raina, etc. While, in women’s cricket, Jemimah Rodrigues and Fran Wilson are also known for producing spectacular catches.