By Nishad Pai Vaidya
The phrase “That is a Karbonn Kamaal Catch” was used during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2011 even for absolute dollies which, in Geoffrey Boycott’s words, would have been held by his “grandmumma.” However, in the midst of some absolute sitters, regulation takes etc. we have witnessed some really “Kamaal” catches.
As expected the “King of Karbonn Kamaal Catches” Kieron Pollard leads the list with three and the Mumbai Indians have highest number of stunners in this list which just highlights the Jonty Rhodes effect.
Here are the top ten catches of IPL 2011.
1. Kieron Pollard vs Kings XI Punjab (Batsman: Shaun Marsh)
Kings XI Punjab were going nicely at 128 for two in 15.2 overs when Kieron Pollard pulled off this stunner to dismiss a dangerous looking Shaun Marsh. Marsh hit the ball with all power tomid-wicket and looked like clearing the ropes. Pollard, who was standing a bit square, ran towards the ball and was actually flying when he took the catch to his right. Pollard had to look at the ball over his shoulder while running towards which made this catch even more difficult. It looked like a certain boundary, but from nowhere you could see a man brave all odds and get hold of the bullet! When he caught it he just stood there with his arms raised towards the Mohali crowd.
2. Rohit Sharma vs Chennai Super Kings (Batsman: Mahendra Singh Dhoni)
Chennai looked set to beat Mumbai at Wankhede Stadium when Lasith Malinga brought the home side back into the game with the crucial wicket of Michael Hussey. In walked Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who had taken India to World Cup glory at the very ground a few days before this game. Mumbai knew the importance of this wicket. As the asking rate kept climbing, he tried to slog Pollard over mid-wicket but only got a top edge that soared high towards third man. Rohit Sharma came in, judged the trajectory and timed his dive forward to grasp it inches off the ground. This catch becomes even more crucial because it sent back a game-changer.
3. Abhishek Raut vs Kolkata Knight Riders (Batsman: Manvinder Bisla)
This catch took me back to the nervous moments of the 2001 Chennai Test between India and Australia. Mark Waugh dived to his right at mid-wicket to take VVS Laxman’s trademark mid- wicket flick as India inched towards a famous win. Fast-forward to Eden Gardens 2011, Kolkata Knight Riders were cruising to victory when Bisla tried to flick Shane Warne through mid-wicket. Raut dived to his right and clutched the ball with both hands which was travelling at some speed. A decade ago it was “c M Waugh b Warne” but it was Raut who took Waugh’s place at the Eden Gardens.
4. Lasith Malinga vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (Batsman: Luke Pomersbach)
Chris Gayle had carted the Mumbai bowling. Once he was dismissed, they needed to get the other batsmen out to have any hopes restricting Bangalore under 200. At 157 for three in the 17th over, Munaf Patel bowled a good length delivery outside off stump. Luke Pomerbach’s eyes lit up as the third man was in the circle and tried to get it through that area. He couldn’t keep it down as Malinga (at short third man) flew towards his right, and took the ball one handed. He was almost parallel to the ground as he held that catch. What makes this catch even more special is that it came from a fast bowler who is not generally expected to pull of such breathtaking grabs.
5. Kieron Pollard vs Pune Warriors India (Batsman: Robin Uthappa)
Mumbai had Pune on the mat, but Robin Uthappa kept fighting to give his team hope to put up a good total on the board. Uthappa tried to clear the ground as he gave Ali Murtuza the charge. The ball was hit hard and flat towards long-on where Pollard had to cover some distance, dive forward to take a low catch. The speed of the proceedings is what made it a stunner. Just as one saw Uthappa hit the ball, the next second Pollard was on his knees with his arms in the air declaring his brilliance.
6. Abhimanyu Mithun vs Mumbai Indians (Batsman: Kieron Pollard)
The assassin became the victim on this occasion. All the batsmen who fell to Pollard’s brilliance would have prayed for him to get a taste of his own medicine. Bangalore had reduced Mumbai to five for 89 in the 13th over in pursuit of 186. Pollard was Mumbai’s final hope at the crease and he lofted Daniel Vettori high towards long-off. Mithun was centimeters from the boundary ropes as he tried to balance himself underneath the ball. The Mumbai Indians dugout behind him cleared as they expected the ball to land where they were sitting. Mithun maintained his balance as he plucked the ball with his right hand just over the boundary. He made sure he did not fall over as he managed to hold on to the skier with one hand. Pollard inflicted this on several batsmen in this tournament and in his final innings of this season he was made watch it happen to him.
7. Shadab Jakati vs Pune Warriors India (Batsman: Yuvraj Singh)
This particular game had no excitement as it drifted in favor of the Chennai Super Kings but the proceedings were lit up by a fantastic catch by Shadab Jakati. Yuvraj Singh tried to loft Ablie Morkel through the off side but did not make good contact. Jakati ran towards his left, dived full length and took it parallel to the ground. The amazing thing about this catch was that Jakati was in the air at least three or four feet off the ground as he grabbed the ball.
8. Kieron Pollard vs Chennai Super Kings (Batsman: Michael Hussey)
This catch is the best evidence supporting the statement “Catches win matches.” Hussey was going about his job as usual and it looked like Chennai would sail through. Malinga came in to bowl and delivered a vicious bouncer. Hussey tried getting underneath it and pulling it over mid wicket. Instead he just lobbed it without any power and Pollard dived forward as if he was diving into a swimming pool to get his hands between the ball and the ground in time. This catch changed the match as Chennai kept losing wickets at regular intervals and eventually fell short of the total by eight runs.
9. Mohammed Kaif vs Kochi Tuskers Kerla (Batsman: Ravindra Jadeja)
All the good old days when Kaif dominated the park as India’s best fielder were re-lived as he took this catch which was very typical of him. Kochi batted first and were struggling to score when Jadeja tried to loft Abhimanyu Mithun over the off side. It was hit high up in the air and Kaif had to run in, make a loud call and then dive and slide to take the ball just before it bounced. An Indian fan would have gone down memory lane to Karachi 2004 when Kaif had to take a similar catch only that he had to jump over Hemang Badani then.
10. Chris Gayle vs Kolkata Knight Riders (Batsman: Jacques Kallis)
Contrary to popular perception Gayle did not announce his arrival with a hundred against Kolkata but with a catch just before that scintillating knock. Kallis tried to play a lofted shot through cover and hit it really hard. The towering Chris Gayle stuck his left hand out and completed a side-on summersault as he held on. The ball was hit really hard but Chris Gayle made it look as if it was a cool, chilled out Sunday morning somewhere in Kingston as he did a complete cycle while taking the catch.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya, a 20-year-old law student, is a club and college-level cricketer. His teachers always complain, “He knows the stats and facts of cricket more than the subjects we teach him.”)