In a captivating showdown during Match 14 of The Hundred Men’s competition on August 10 at Birmingham’s Edgbaston Stadium, Welsh Fire’s versatile player, Roelof van der Merwe, showcased an extraordinary display of athleticism. The momentous juggling catch he executed sent Birmingham Phoenix’s skipper, Moeen Ali (17), back to the pavilion, leaving spectators in awe.
The pivotal sequence unfolded when left-arm pacer David Payne delivered a well-pitched delivery, angling into Ali, who instinctively swung his bat across the line. The ball soared into the air, heading straight towards the long-on region. Van der Merwe sprang into action, charging forward as the ball ascended.
Initially, it appeared as though he had completed the catch, only for the ball to slip out of his grasp and ricochet off his chest. However, in a breathtaking display of determination, he swiftly regained control and pulled off an astounding one-handed catch on his second attempt.
The incident promptly caught the attention of The Hundred’s official social media account, which shared the video along with a caption that humorously acknowledged the unorthodox nature of the catch. “Not a conventional way to take a catch, but Roelof van der Merwe and Welsh Fire won’t mind!” the post read.
Shifting focus to the broader game, Welsh Fire triumphed over Birmingham Phoenix with a convincing six-wicket victory, securing their second win in the Hundred Men’s tournament. Winning the toss, Phoenix’s skipper, Moeen Ali, elected to bat first. Yet, the host team struggled to gain momentum and posted a subpar total of 112/7.
Noteworthy performances from Haris Rauf, David Payne, and van der Merwe, who each claimed two wickets, combined with Shaheen Shah Afridi’s one scalp, contributed to their bowling dominance.
In response, the Tom Abell-led Welsh Fire side demonstrated their mettle by efficiently chasing down the target in a mere 85 deliveries while losing only four wickets. Opening batsman Stephen Eskinazi played a pivotal role, crafting a stunning knock of 43 runs off just 18 deliveries.
His innings was adorned with six boundaries and two maximums, showcasing his attacking prowess. On the other hand, Birmingham Phoenix’s bowling effort was led by Benny Howell, who secured two dismissals, while Shadab Khan and Moeen Ali each earned one.
With this victory, Welsh Fire secured their place in third position on the points table, boasting two wins from four games. Meanwhile, Birmingham Phoenix found themselves languishing at the bottom, yet to secure a victory in the ongoing tournament after playing four matches.