“After the auctions, we knew that we aren’t the best fielding side, but everyone is putting in the hard work in training, and that is all we can ask for,” Ashwin had said in the post-match press conference after the loss against Sunrisers Hyderabad a few days ago.
The additional hard work seems to be paying off as Kings XI Punjab took as many as seven catches, including two blinders, in last night’s VIVO Indian Premier League match against Rajasthan Royals.
Electing to bowl first, KXIP managed to restrict the visitors to 152/9, with seven of those nine wickets down to catches, each by a different fielder.
Not all were simple dollies. Chris Gayle rewound the clock with a stunning effort diving in front of him at backward point to send back RR captain Ajinkya Rahane. After running his twos and taking quick singles, the Universe Boss completed the trifecta of cricketing athletic feats with this ripper.
On any other day, the big Jamaican would have earned the catch of the match, but for the dual effort that unfolded in the 13th over. Ben Stokes sent a Mujeeb Ur Rahman delivery towards long-off for a projected six but Mayank Agarwal grabbed hold of it just a foot from the boundary line. That threw him off balance, the momentum about to push him over the line. Moments before he fell over, he threw the ball towards Manoj Tiwary, who had run in from long on, to complete the catch.
Athleticism. Awareness. Presence of mind. Composure. Execution. Mayank Agarwal take a bow you beauty. That was a catch and a half. Like the striker who is at goal mouth and perfectly set up, Tiwary gets on the scoreboard. #RRvKXIP #IPL2018 @IPL— Anand Vasu (@anandvasu) 6 May 2018
"Initially I thought (Stokes) didn't hit it well but as the ball came close I thought it was getting real close to the boundary and I had to paddle back," Agarwal explained. "And I knew that I would go outside the boundary, but I thought ‘if I’m going out then let me try and put the ball in the play’ and then I saw (Tiwary). Both of us have been doing a lot of mid-off and mid-on practice, so I knew he'd be there."
The thing about that catch is that it will go down in the records as ‘Caught Manoj Tiwary’.😊#IPL2018— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) 6 May 2018
Although the scorecard read Tiwary’s name in Stokes’ dismissal, he was insistent in crediting Agarwal for his effort.
"It's his catch, to be honest," Tiwary smiled. "I just followed the basics to look at the ball and kept a close look on what my partner is doing. All the credit goes to our fielding coach and other supporting staff because they continuously give us catches like this."