ICC World T20 2016: 10 most spectacular catches from the grandest stage of T20 cricket

The ICC World T20 2016 saw West Indies romping home to another victory as they defeated England in an awe-inspiring final at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday. The tournament witnessed some spectacular catches being cupped on the field and the experience was definitely worth cherishing for long. Suraj Choudhari pens down 10 such outstanding efforts which will be remembered for many years to come. Read: ICC World T20 2016: Some memorable moments from this mega event

1.  Michael Leask, match 5, First Round Group B, Zimbabwe vs Scotland

Michael Leask stunned everyone with this effort as he cupped a beautiful catch at the long off to set Richard Mutumbami walking. Zimbabwe were delicately placed at 51 for 2 inside 9 overs when Mutumbami decided to break the shackles with a long hit. Mark Watt bowled a flighted delivery to which Mutumbami shimmied down the track and tried to smash over long off. It would have been a simple catch for Leask at long off but he made a mess of it but recovered well to get the ball in his grasp with a single handed dive. However, Zimbabwe won the game by 11 runs but this catch was certainly a highlight of the match.

2.  Soumya Sarkar, match 14, Super 10, Pakistan vs Bangladesh

This was inarguably the best catch of the tournament as what would have been a virtual six ended up being a wicket courtesy to some fabulous presence of mind by Soumya Sarkar. Pakistan were piling some massive runs and Mohammad Hafeez was batting confidentially on 64 when he went for a maximum to Arafat Sunny and hit a delivery over mid wicket. Sarkar got the ball but his follow through forced him into the boundary but he did exceptionally well to get rid of the ball and come back in to the field to finish the catch. In the end, Pakistan won by 55 runs.

3.  Hardik Pandya, match 19, Super 10, India vs Pakistan

Hardik Pandya is undoubtedly one of the swiftest fielders in the Indian side and he proved it by taking a spectacular catch during the high voltage clash between India and Pakistan at Eden Gardens.   India were in a desperate need of a wicket when Sharjeel Khan played a bad shot to a short ball from Suresh Raina. The ball travelled quickly towards Pandya at long on but he had quite a distance to cover. He did well and eventually completed a fantastic catch but was taken off the field for sometime as he seemed to have injured himself. India won the thrilling encounter and this catch certainly earned Pandya a lot of respect on the field.

4.  Soumya Sarkar, match 25, Super 10, India vs Bangladesh

Sarkar by now had earned a reputation of clinching difficult catches and on this occasion he added another feather to his cap. Pandya was looking good on 15 when he pulled a short pitched delivery from Al-Amin Hossain towards square leg only to get caught by Sarkar. The latter charged in and dived towards his left to stun everyone with his mind boggling effort. The reactions of everyone first stated that he dropped the catch but it wasn’t to be as Sarkar stood high with the ball in his hand. His effort was overshadowed by India’s one run dramatic win in the ultimate over of the game.

5.  Nathan McCullum, match 13, Super 10, India vs New Zealand

While chasing a modest target of 126, Indian batting stumbled like nine pins as they were precariously placed at 79 for 8 inside 18 overs. MS Dhoni stuck to his guns and needed to shift gears as India needed 48 runs from 15 deliveries. He took on Nathan McCullum on a delivery from Mitchell Santner as he went for a biggie over long on. He didn’t manage to get the timing right as McCullum dived ahead to cup an excellent catch. This was the final nail in India’s coffin as they lost the game by 47 runs.

6.  Joe Root, match 29, Super 10, England vs Sri Lanka

This was probably the turning point of the match and a decisive one for both the teams. England were defending a total of 171 when Sri Lanka needed 17 from 10 and on strike was Dasun Shanaka who was threatening to take the game away from England. He played a powerful drive to Chris Jordan which was flying away from Joe Root at mid-off. Root went flying towards his left and stretched both his hands to take the catch.

7.  Sikandar Raza, match 5, First Round Group B, Scotland vs Zimbabwe

Scotland were chasing a humble target of 148 as Zimbabwe were eyeing for some early wickets with the new ball. Tendai Chatara bowled a driving length delivery which was driven beautifully by Kyle Coetzer. Sikandar Raza in no time while fielding at short covers went towards his left and grabbed the ball. There was hardly any time to react but Raza judged it to perfection. Zimbabwe won the game by 11 runs and this take by Raza will surely remain as one of his finest.

8.  Pieter Seelaar, match 11, First Round Group A, Ireland vs Netherlands

Due to the incessant rains, the game was reduced to six overs a side and it needed an exceptional effort by the Netherlands to defend a target of 60 runs against the explosive batting line up of Ireland. Kevin O’Brien pulled one towards deep boundary to which Pieter Seelaar dove towards his left while running to take a blazing catch and avoided a virtual boundary. He made it look very comfortable but was definitely a difficult take. Netherlands somehow successfully defended the target as they won the contest by 12 runs.

9. Zeeshan Maqsood, match 4, First Round Group A, Ireland vs Oman

Paul Stirling was batting with flair on 29 when Zeeshan Maqsood did something outstanding to get his team the first wicket. Aamir Kaleem tossed one up outside off stump which Stirling drove towards covers, the ball went like a tracer bullet but Maqsood had his eyes on it. He dived towards his left and captured a one-handed beauty to set Stirling walking. He got his team the breakthrough and a much needed one as Oman won by couple of wickets.

10.  Samuel Badree, Final, West Indies vs England

Samuel Badree is not reckoned for his fielding but on this occasion; he silenced his harshest critics with a diving catch at short third man. Liam Plunkett was on the strike as England were trying to get some priceless runs on the board. Dwayne Bravo bowled a slower delivery as Plunkett tried to heave it over for a maximum but just managed to get a thick edge. Badree, after covering a reasonable ground lunged in the air and took a marvellous catch. He hurt himself with this effort but the risk was worth taking as this was the ultimate battle of the tournament and West Indies won it by 4 wickets to become the first team to have two T20 titles to their name.

(Suraj Choudhari, an avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with Criclife)