The best nanosecond of Joe Denly’s unbelievable dropped catch

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Joe Denly v Ball (all images via Sky Sports)

Where were you when Joe Denly dropped Kane Williamson? Hopefully you weren’t fielding at short midwicket. 

If you were, our deepest sympathies. Maybe try and expunge the moment from your memory in favour of that starfish catch you took in the Ashes.

We generally like to indulge in unnecessarily in-depth analysis of these sorts of things, but Joe Denly’s dropped catch against New Zealand featured one specific moment so perfect that there’s really no need to go into any further detail.

Midway through the final day, with wickets really nothing more than a theoretical possibility, Jofra Archer sent down a knuckle ball. Against all odds, Kane Williamson gently spooned the ball at Denly’s waiting hands. 

As Denly deftly deflected the ball to the turf, his team-mates reacted in several different ways. The finest reaction was Archer’s, who absolutely sprinted towards the slips in celebration.

Look at Archer. Look at Denly. Elation and desolation in one blurry screengrab. One man wildly celebrating something that hasn’t even happened, the other limply scrabbling at the ball as it gently rolls away, taking his self worth with it.

Our second favourite moment was just afterwards when Joe Denly started shining the ball. Ball shining is the kind of one per center that only really seems like a logical thing to do if you’re also going to cover the 99 per centers like catching the ball.

Our third favourite moment was this one.

It’s the pitiful moment when Denly is obliged to bend and pick up the ball. Stuart Broad can’t even watch.

Now stationary and earthbound, the ball is only now docile enough that Denly is capable of taming it.


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  1. Surely the real cricket story of the day is Nish Kumar being pelted with bread rolls by the Lords Taverners.

      1. And therefore “pelted” is the wrong word for it; a single bread roll cannot, in this context, repeatedly be hurled as a missile.

        I had a good laugh about this with several friends yesterday, going through the various newspaper headlines on this; the best being the Daily Mail one which described the incident as “chaos”.

        But surely the really important question on this Joe Denly thread must be: did Nish Kumar catch the bread roll or not?

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