'Catch of the century!': Stokes stuns crowd with one-handed catch at Cricket World Cup (VIDEO)
Phehlukwayo appeared to have secured a six for South Africa with a deep midwicket drive but Stokes, who later admitted he was out of position, acrobatically dived backwards and claimed the ball to a roars of approval from those in attendance at The Oval.
Nasser Hussain, the former England captain who was on commentary duty for UK broadcaster Sky Sports, hailed the catch as among the best in the history of the sport.
"One of the greatest catches of all time" 😲— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) May 30, 2019
Sensational take by Ben Stokes in the deep as the ball appears destined for the boundary
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"No way! No, no way! You cannot do that Ben Stokes!" Hussain said incredulously. "That is remarkable, that is one of the greatest catches of all time! You cannot do that."
Another former England player, Phil Tufnell, hailed it as the "catch of the century" while ex-Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara said, "It is unbelievable stuff. You have to see it to believe it. It has happened too quick for everyone here. It was travelling but it is the best I have seen for a long time."
The online reaction has been just as enthusiastic. Several fans have hailed Stokes' catch as among the best they've ever seen, with some fans even drawing comparisons to the famous one-handed catch by Odell Beckham Jr. several NFL seasons ago.
Speaking to the media after the game, Stokes said that he was forced to pull off the almost impossible catch because his positioning had let him down at the beginning of the play.
"I had a little bit of a panic on, to be honest," Stokes admitted to Sky Sports. "I was a little bit further in than I should have been. I took a step and just panicked a bit. It gets the nickname 'The Claw', so I'm lucky it stuck."
Shades of Odell Beckham from Ben Stokes!— Thom Gibbs (@thomgibbs) May 30, 2019
Stokes' influence wasn't limited just to the catch, as he scored 89 runs as England set South Africa an opening total score of 311. The England man was also instrumental in snuffing out any hopes of a comeback, as he hit the last two balls to secure England's first World Cup victory of the tournament.Also on rt.com ‘That’s mad!’ Indian cricketers pull off unbelievable behind-the-back teamwork catch (VIDEO)