From its origins going back hundreds of years, cricket has revealed some impressive talent that has bowled over audiences across the globe. Unbelievable shots that win matches, tragic near misses and bowling speeds that have to be re-watched in slow motion, cricket constantly proves itself a spectacular spectator sport. But some of cricket’s most memorable moments have to be these best catches of all time.
There’s no doubt that cricket is a team sport but there’s always a moment in every match – where everything comes together for one player – that changes the trajectory. For one Sri Lanka v South Africa game, that was the glorious one-handed catch made by the captain, Faf du Plessis. Fielding at second slip, Du Plessis had to jump and stretch in an instant to take an amazing catch which dismissed Angelo Mathews, leaving Sri Lanka four down with the Proteas sealing the win by 118 runs soon afterwards.
Australian cricketer, Steve Smith, stopped New Zealand batsman, BJ Watling in his tracks with one of the all-time greatest catches. Attempting to increase the score by four, Watling hit a square cut with Smith going full stretch to his left and interrupting that effort. Certainly one of the greatest catches.
It’s always a tense contest when Australia and England go head-to-head, which makes Paul Collingwood’s sensational catch to dismiss Matthew Hayden in 2005 all the more impressive. As Hayden leaned back to cut the ball over the fielder’s head, Collingwood jumped – with arguably the wrong hand – to secure an unbelievable catch.
Proving his worth at the age of 36, New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori jumped (according to his six-year-old son) higher than he does on a trampoline to catch West Indies batsman, Marlon Samuel’s ball during the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Positioned on the third man boundary, Vettori jumped with a backwards manoeuvre to stop what would have been a glorious six for Samuel.
Where to begin? One of the best fielders in cricketing history, Jonathan Neil Rhodes didn’t arrive on the scene with a bang, preferring soccer and hockey during his school days, but his unique talent on the cricket field is now legendary. He would shrug off the ‘best fielder in the world’ title although Rhodes would admit he was one of the best ‘stoppers’, describing his strengths as stopping runs, holding catches and putting pressure on opponents.
A fantastic team effort by Rajasthan Royal cricketers in a 2015 IPL match against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) became one of the best catches in the history of the game. KXIP captain, George Bailey, attempted to clear the fence when Tim Southee came flying in from the long on boundary, caught the ball but instantly threw it to teammate, Karun Nair, who miraculously grabbed the ball, getting the wicket. Best team catch of all time?
Channelling his cricketing predecessor, Jonty Rhodes, South Africa’s JP Duminy was fielding at gully in a Hobart Test match against Australia last year when Mitchell Starc nicked the ball towards Duminy. The fielder dived full-length down to his right for an impressively controlled catch.
Bonus Catch: Glen Maxwell
Desperate times call for desperate measures. During an IPL match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab, Jamaican Chris Gayle was heading towards triple figures for his KXIP team. Gayle whacked one onto the roof, with the ball rebounding back to Australian, Glen Maxwell, who caught the ball with one hand. He cheekily appealed for the backyard cricket rule of ‘one hand, one bounce’, but it was not to be…