This year’s Cricket World Cup opened in London on Thursday, with hosts England facing off against South Africa. That’s where England all-rounder Ben Stokes made this spectacular backwards catch while running toward the boundary to dismiss batsman Andile Phehlukwayo, which the commentator described as “one of the greatest catches of all time”:
This moment of brilliance capped off an overall stellar performance from Stokes, who hit 89 runs off 79 balls to help England to 311-8 in the first innings. He followed up his superhuman catch by taking two South African wickets in consecutive balls. (If you need a refresher on what anything in those last two sentences means, Deadspin once published this extremely helpful guide.)
Cricket has a reputation as a long and somewhat boring game, but World Cup matches are played in One-Day International format, a limited overs form of the sport designed to produce moments of magic and intense excitement like this one. A few years ago I spent a week in India watching cricket with my senile great uncle—may he rest in peace—which evidently made me more qualified than any other Deadspin staffer to write this blog. It’s a fun game when you understand what’s happening. It’s especially fun when you have an irate, elderly man to clue you in to how you’re supposed to react to what’s happening.
The Cricket World Cup will run through July 14, so now’s as good a time as any to brush up on the rules and learn why you should further appreciate Stokes’s catch.
H/t to Christoffer
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