It was an unforgettable screamer of a catch that challenged the laws of physics, silenced the passionate Gabba crowd and created an instant tidal wave on Twitter — and it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time for the Sydney Sixers’ Big Bash League season or their Glenbrook-raised signing Jordan Silk.
Better known as a solid right-handed opening batsman for Tasmania who has carved up two centuries and two 50s in the Sheffield Shield’s opening six rounds (a competition that resumes in mid-February), the Sixers saw Silk’s role in the Twenty20 format of the game as being a handy middle to late order batsman with an exceptional pair of hands and athleticism on the field.
And after failing to make much of an impact in the Sixers opening win and follow-up loss in late December, the 21-year-old delivered a masterstroke that proved the winning difference against the Brisbane Heat in the third round on January 3.
After setting a modest target of 140, the Sixers were struggling to contain the Heat who’d reached 4/96 with plenty of overs to come and batsman Craig Kieswetter was in sparkling form.
They desperately needed something special and they got it from Silk.
On 38 runs off 40 balls, Kieswetter smashed a Brett Lee delivery with incredible force towards the boundary, but somehow Silk followed it like a heat-seeking missile, launching himself into a full-length dive while having the reflexes to secure the ball in his outstretched left hand.
It even left outspoken Channel Ten Twenty20 cricket commentator and West Indian living legend Sir Viv Richards momentarily speechless, but he recovered to say “that was one of the best catches I have ever seen” and it proved the turning point in the match and the Sixers’ season’s fortunes.
They ended up winning the game on the final ball by five runs and with confidence levels re-established, went on to win against the Strikers at the Adelaide Oval on January 4.
Silk’s initial thoughts about his unbelievable catch were typically modest.
“It was a bit of a fluke I think — I just managed to get to the ball and stick my left hand out and thankfully it stuck, so I’m over the moon by it and it was a pretty big wicket in the end too,” he said.
“It probably has to be [the best catch I’ve ever taken], and it was probably the biggest crowd I’ve played in front of.”
He later said Ricky Ponting’s fielding prowess and discipline during training when he captained Tasmania last Sheffield Shield season really struck a chord with him.
Ponting is on the record as saying Silk is the best fielder in Australian cricket right now.
“I try to take the same pride in my fielding [as Ponting] and especially in my catching,” Silk said.
“I’d practice them in the backyard all the time when growing up [and] I still work hard on that, so when it comes to game time you know you might have to take that kind of catch.
“Thankfully it came off.”
Silk said the back-to-back wins on the road for the Sixers have returned them to the top half of the Big Bash League table and he “can’t wait” until their next game against the Perth Scorchers this Friday night.