After a rather slow start, Ben Stokes has actually lived up to his top billing for the Rising Pune Supergiant with heroic efforts with both bat and ball.
And the all-rounder raised the stakes for other fielders on Friday, when he took a spectacular catch at the boundary to dismiss Mohammed Shami. The catch not only gave Pune a wicket but also ensure that the ball didn't go for a six.
Rising Pune Supergiant failed to beat Delhi Daredevils in the end, but Stokes' catch will definitely go down as one of the best this season.
While seeing fielders take acrobatic catches at the boundary ropes is becoming a habit for cricket lovers these days, what makes Stokes' effort praiseworthy is the fact that the ball was travelling at a high speed.
Shami whacked Jaydev Unadkat towards the deep mid-wicket fence, Stokes spotted the chance and timed his jump perfectly. Though the Englishman took the catch with his stretched arms, it was important for him to first land inside the ropes, which he managed with elan, and then balance himself on one foot and throw to the ball in the air, so that when the momentum took him beyond the ropes, the ball would not be in contact with him.
Stokes did all of that and then had the time to step inside the boundary ropes to complete the catch. The effort drew a thunderous applause from the packed Feroze Shah Kotla and his Pune teammates.