What score should we give that mad Ben Stokes catch?

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Ben Stokes (all images via ICC video)

2019 Cricket World Cup, Game 1, England v South Africa

That Ben Stokes catch was amazing. But was it fully amazing? If not, what exact percentage of amazing was it?

Let’s work it out. Only once we have a number will we all know how to feel about it. Everyone knows that emotions are based on points totals.

These are the categories. 25 points for each.

  1. Air
  2. Agility
  3. Difficulty
  4. Importance


Pretty straightforward. How high did Ben Stokes get?

It wasn’t gasp-inducingly high, but it was pretty damn high. We’d estimate that Ben Stokes attained an altitude of approximately one Steven Finn.



How much running and leaping and twisting and turning was involved in the catch?

Well here’s the leaping.

And here’s the grasping.

If we’d tried to jump like that, one of our knees would have crumbled like dry biscuit, and if we’d tried to reach our arm up like that, at least three bodily components would have torn. It’s possible that one of the torn body parts would have been our pancreas.



If all of the above weren’t enough, Ben Stokes basically took this catch backhand.

Yes, there are several ways you could imagine-up a catch that would technically be more difficult, but let’s not get too silly. This ball was flying at 200mph, eight feet above Stokes’ head and he plucked it out of the air backhand.

Loses one point because he probably could have got in a better position earlier and made the whole thing a little bit less mental.



It wasn’t actually all that important in the context of the game. By this point England were already pretty much certain to win.

It was however extremely important in terms of the catch having been taken in the first match of a World Cup that is being played in an era when 90 per cent of the population of the United Kingdom have completely forgotten that cricket exists but may somehow just about notice it again if sufficiently mad and eye-catching things happen frequently enough.



Ben Stokes’ mad catch was exactly 82 per cent amazing.


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  1. My mother-in-law just emailed me voicing her delight that England won today. Despite of or because of living in SA for years, the pronouciation of ‘dup mud wuckut’ some how got her going. I think this is due to all her SA friends referring to the UK as ‘Mud Island.’

    I too have knee cartilage like crumbling ship’s biscuits.

  2. QED.

    May I also tip my hat to you for reeling off a sentence of more than sixty words without a single comma, and (just about) getting away with it…

  3. Are those flashing bails heavier, or otherwise harder to dislodge, than conventional bails? I do wonder if the ICC should investigate.

    This isn’t the first time there has been bail-related controversy and if it had turned out to play a decisive role in the result, then the gimmickery of it all would have been cast in a… poor light.

      1. Those are both good calls and I remember but can’t quite place a few more, but I have the feeling that it’s been more common with the flashing bails, or has happened with heftier looking blows to the stumps. Or maybe it’s all an availability illusion?

      2. I suspect illusion, Bail-out.

        When it is windy, it is standard practice to use heavier bails and that is not deemed to make a material difference to the ability of a ball actually to dislodge a bail…

        …and it is the dislodging of at least one bail from its groove that is the very definition of, e.g. whether or not the batsman is bowled.

        Your user name on this site, Bail-out, is the quintessential user name for this particular discussion, I realise.

      3. Overall, bails failing to fall are maybe less ama-zing than they used to be.

        (Needs some work, this one.)

  4. Pancreas isn’t a body part, silly. It is a state of mind that endows athletic ability to the subject. It comes from the Greek words Pan (to rotate at the hips) and Kreas (to jump up high and catch a flying object backhanded).

    Evidently, Ben Stokes has excellent pancreas.

  5. First the Petulance Index and now calculating the exact percentage of ‘amazing’. You’ve gone all maths-y and scientific, as if numbers can prove anything,

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