Fielding is undoubtedly an important aspect of cricket and requires utmost concentration, be it a T20 or a test match. The great Jonty Rhodes showed the world that even catches can change the course of a game. At the same time, dropped catches could just as easily cost the game and in some instances, even the series or the tournament. Let’s take a look at the costliest drops in cricketing history.

I  The costliest ODI catch-260 runs!

Thisara Perera drops Rohit Sharma (India vs Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens, 13th November, 2014):  India had already won the first three matches and the series.It was Rohit Sharma’s first One Day International after 10 weeks. The hit-man started his innings pretty nervously and in the fifth over, Shaminda Eranga managed to get a thick edge off Rohit Sharma to Thisara Perera, standing at third man, who grassed the ball when Rohit Sharma was just on 4 runs. Capitalising on the reprieve, the opener went on to score another 260 runs and still holds the record for the highest ODI score. India managed to comfortably win the game by 153runs.

II   Warne drops the Ashes!

 Warne drops Kevin Pietersen (England vs Australia at The Oval, 12th September, 2005): The 2005 Ashes is considered to be one of the most dramatic Ashes of all time. England was leading the 5-match series 2-1 and had to keep it that way in order to lift the Ashes Urn for the first time since the winter of 1986-87. But it all came down to the fifth day of the final test as England was soon reduced to 67 for 3, courtesy a double strike by Glenn McGrath in the 23rd over. The young Kevin Pietersen walked out to the middle and looked far from being comfortable. He survived a caught behind appeal of McGrath’s hat-trick ball. But the series defining moment took place when Pietersen batting on 15, edged a Brett Lee delivery to Shane Warne at first slip. Warne, who normally is a safe bet, couldn’t hold on to the catch, as the crowd witnessed the ball pop out of his hands and on to the ground. Pietersen was rampant thereafter, and scored a blistering knock to bring up his maiden test century and went on to score 158.His fifth day heroics helped England secure a win and thereby secure the Ashes.

III  The catch that choked the proteas!

Herschelle Gibbs drops Steve Waugh (South Africa vs Australia at Leeds, 13th June, 1999): Australia had their backs against the wall as they faced South Africa in a must win, final game of the Super Six stage. South Africa won the toss, elected to bat first and scored a massive 271, with Centurion Herschelle Gibbs who would soon turn into the villain.Chasing 271, Australia lost their first three wickets for just 48 runs and was in deep trouble when skipper Steve Waugh joined Ricky Ponting in the middle. In the 31st over, Steve Waugh played a rather loose flick to Herschelle Gibbs at mid-wicket. Gibbs caught the ball and while trying to celebrate, the ball slipped out of his finger and hit the ground.It was clarified that the ball must be in control of the fielder even when it is being dislodged. Steve Waugh was on 56 when the event happened and went on to score a massive 120 runs which guided Australia to a 5-wicket victory. Waugh allegedly said to Gibbs that he had dropped the world cup,fate would later hold his words true. The two teams met again in the semi-final which resulted in a tie! Australia went into the finals because after defeating South Africa in the Super Six stage. Gibbs blunder had clearly cost South Africa the world cup, and perhaps won the Aussies the cup as they went on to thrash Pakistan in the final and lift the cup comfortably.

IV  Sir Jadeja gets cooked!

Jadeja drops Alastair Cook (England vs India at Rose Bowl, 27th July, 2014): Surprised to find this? Well heres a drop that ended India’s away series win hopes in a long time.India was on fire as they drew at Trent Bridge and had won the second test match at Lords, their first at the venue in 28 years. India was in the driver’s seat going into the 3rd match of the five-match series.  England’s skipper Cook did not fire and his place in the side as captain and player was consequently under scrutiny.  Alastair Cook looked unnerving as he took guard on the first day of the third test and when on 15, he edged debutant Pankaj Singh’s delivery to Jadeja at third slip, who made a mess of it. The English captain then carefully batted out the session and added 80 more runs to add to India’s woes.This dropped catch helped Cook’s confidence and also gave the middle order the much-needed cushion. Cook’s confidence was evident in his captaincy; he was proactive and made better decisions on the field.  The drop shifted the momentum towards England, who won the test match and eventually went on to win the series 3-1.

V  The catch that choked the proteas … again!

Behardien and Jean-Paul Duminy drop Grant Elliott (New Zealand vs South Africa at Eden Park, 24th March, 2015): South Africa and New Zealand had never been to a World Cup final and both teams were determined to turn that around. The match was reduced to a 43 over game after rain had interrupted play and New Zealand was to chase a revised target of 298.  In the last ball of the 42nd over, Elliott mistimed a pull shot to FarhaanBehardien at deep square leg, who was right under the ball. But JP Duminy came running across from fine leg and dived right in front of Behardien and collided with him, dropping the catch. 4 balls later, when 5 runs were needed off 2 balls, Elliott finished off with a huge 6 over wide long on, and secured New Zealand a berth in the final of the 2015 World Cup. The next few moments were forever etched in the history of cricket as the mighty Proteas were down in sorrow and tears.

Funny how a momentary lapse in concentration can go on to cause disastrous results, but that is the beautiful cruelty of cricket and perhaps sport itself. Feel there is a better (or worse) drop? Let us know in the comments section…

 

Nithin Karthikeyan

Cricket Junkie

Senior Blogger
22Yards

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