Northampton, July 10: Harleen Deol's stunning catch at the boundary provided a rare moment of joy for the Indian women's cricket team during England's innings in the opening T20 International, which it lost by 18 runs under DLS method. The catch was good enough to become a rage on social media.
Wicketkeeper Amy Jones was looking ominous, batting on 43 runs off 26 deliveries. On the fifth ball of the 19th over, she danced the pitch and went for a heave off pacer Shikha Pandey. It looked like the ball would go for a six. But Harleen summoned all her athletic ability.
The 23-year-old, positioned at long-off, timed her jump well and took a reverse-cupped catch above her head. As she was losing her balance, she threw the ball up in the air before crossing the boundary. She then regained balance and jumped in time to make a full-stretch dive to complete the catch inside the boundary.
Harleen's effort was also acknowledged by some of the players in the England camp, who applauded it. It earned rave reviews on Twitter as well.
"As good a catch one will ever see on a cricket field, from Harleen Deol. Absolutely top class," said former India batsman VVS Laxman.
"A fantastic piece of fielding [emoticon: clapping hands]," tweeted the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). This isn't the first time Indian women have impressed with their fielding. Three balls before Harleen's jaw-dropping effort, skipper Harmanpreet Kaur came in from long-on and dived forward to complete a low catch to send back Natalie Sciver (55 off 27 balls) to pavilion.
In the third and final ODI at Worcester last Saturday, Smriti Mandhana had pulled off an extraordinary catch to dismiss Natalie in the 38th over. Smriti ran towards her left and dived full length at the cow corner to complete the catch. Harleen and Harmanpreet efforts were the few bright spots for India in the rain-hit match. England lead the multi-format series 8-4 on points with the second T20I scheduled to be played at Hove on Sunday.