Each year the IPL brings with it hundreds of moments to cherish and a few of them are so magical that they leave an imprint on the minds of the fans for a long time.
While batsmen and bowlers get a fair chance of displaying their skill, great fielders are very much underappreciated in cricket. However, with the advent of T20s, fielders have started getting their share of praise as their job becomes all the more important since the match can change in a matter of balls and every run saved is crucial.
The Indian domestic T20 competition every season gives us the opportunity to witness the best fielders in the world display their exemplary catching skills. Here is a list of the top five fielders with the most number of catches in the history of the tournament.
#5 Kieron Pollard
Team: Mumbai Indians
Oppositions not only have to deal with Pollard’s intimidating batting and golden arm while bowling but also his exceptional fielding skills. A live wire in the field, the aggressive Trinidadian is always in the face of the opposition batsmen while on the field.
Using his long reach to good effect, Pollard is a phenomenal fielder at any position on the field. He usually guards the point area in the power-play overs and is very tough to beat on the boundary in the death overs.
Over the years, in the IPL, he has taken some spectacular catches in crunch situations which have resulted in matches being turned on their heads in his team, Mumbai Indians’ favour.
#4 Dwayne Bravo
Teams: Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Lions
Two-time Purple Cap holder Dwayne Bravo, as a bowler, tests a batsman with his range of off-cutters and slower ball yorkers and often comes out on top. But this is not the only utility that the agile 33-year-old all-rounder from West Indies brings to his team.
His athleticism and safe pair of hands mean that he is an asset for any fielding side, saving crucial runs, holding on to spectacular catches and effecting miraculous run-outs from the outfield.
He is also a very good fielder off his own bowling and has time and again pulled off stunners in his follow through.
#3 Rohit Sharma
Teams: Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians
The stylish and elegant Mumbai Indians captain has not just proved to be one of the best batsmen across the nine seasons of the IPL but also one of the safest fielders.
Third on the list of most number of catches in the history of the IPL, the 29-year-old may not be the most effervescent when it comes to athleticism on the cricket field but can be relied upon to pouch catches safely.
He starts off in the slips in the initial overs and then patrols the inner circle. His ground fielding skills cannot be underestimated and one can always see him put in a hundred percent for his team on the field.
#2 AB de Villiers
Teams: Delhi Daredevils, Royal Challengers Bangalore
There is nothing in the cricket text book that Abraham Benjamin de Villiers cannot do. He can hit a cricket ball miles and that too, to any part of the ground and against any bowler. He can roll his arm over to effect vital dismissals. He can efficiently keep wickets. And last, but surely not least, he can outclass the best of fielders on the playing field.
He has been seen taking extraordinary catches both inside the circle and at the boundary. He is mostly deployed at the long off or long on boundary as he has phenomenal ground fielding skills to go with his mind-boggling ability to pluck catches out of nowhere.
#1 Suresh Raina
Teams: Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Lions
Suresh Raina is a dynamite on the field. He changed the way the world looked at Indian fielding by carrying forward the legacy of Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif.
Apart from being an explosive batsman who any T20 team would love to have in their line-up, he is a terrific ground fielder and hardly misses a chance to put his body on the line to save even a single run for his team.
He makes a huge difference to the morale of the bowler and his team by throwing himself about with energy and verve.