New Zealand cricketer Henry Nicholls created a moment that will live forever because of how unlikely it is. It’s so wild you don’t even need to understand cricket to appreciate what’s happened here.
It’s really a pretty simple chain of events, but the devil is in the details. Nicholls hits a drive to mid off, and his teammate Daryl Mitchell, quickly realizes the ball might hit him. In an effort to get out of the way Mitchell turns his body, flailing his bat up and around, timing it perfectly so the ball hits the meat of his bat, ricochets up in the air, where a fielder is waiting.
Before you wonder if how this even works inside the rules, it does — Nicholls is out. According to the official rule on catches it’s legal if:
188.8.131.52 a fielder catches the ball after it has touched the wicket, an umpire, another fielder, a runner or the other batter.
So in this case the bat is an extension of the player, so it’s all by the book. That said, this is so improbable it defies belief. I have been watching cricket for 30 years. In that time I can only recall a few times ever seeing a batter hit the ball and it make contact with the non-striking bat. Even in those occasions I’ve never seen the ball pop up like this, or dream it could carry perfectly to a fielder.
Simply put: This is a once in a generation play and we’re likely never going to see it again.