LONDON • It was one of the most spectacular catches ever to grace a World Cup match, but England all-rounder Ben Stokes was reluctant to take too much credit after admitting he made it so difficult by misjudging the flight of the ball.
The 27-year-old launched himself high into the air near the mid-wicket boundary, reaching up and back to snatch an amazing one-handed catch to dismiss Andile Phehlukwayo off the bowling of Adil Rashid, as England thumped South Africa by 104 runs in the opening World Cup match on Thursday.
The Oval crowd roared their approval at what was a truly memorable moment, but Stokes - and captain Eoin Morgan - tried not to get too carried away.
"I was actually in the wrong position - it would have been a regular catch if I was in the right place but, yeah, it is one of those that sticks or doesn't," said Stokes, whose sensational effort was labelled "the catch of the century" by former England spinner Phil Tufnell on the BBC.
"The crowd's reaction behind me was pretty awesome, I just tried to take that in as much as I could. I bowled the next over and Morgs had to come to me and ask if everything was all right, if my heart rate had gone down - things like that catch do get you fizzed up."
Morgan said the only other catch he had seen rival it was by South African A.B. de Villiers in a game in Bangalore.
"The best thing about being an all-rounder is you can influence the game pretty much the whole 100 overs - it is always nice when you can contribute," said Stokes, who top-scored with 89 as England posted 311-8 on an awkward pitch. He also had two catches, took two wickets and assisted in a run-out.
In yesterday's match, West Indies hammered Pakistan by seven wickets at Trent Bridge to launch their World Cup campaign in style.
Pakistan were bowled out for just 105, with Oshane Thomas taking four wickets, before Chris Gayle smashed a quick-fire 50 as the 1975 and 1979 champions romped home in just 13.4 overs.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS