In a T20 Vitality Blast contest held between Nottinghamshire and Lancashire on Sunday, Dane Vilas took one of the strangest and most impressive catches you are likely to see, displaying both game awareness and athleticism to dismiss Ben Duckett.
Left-arm spinner Tom Hartley of the Lancashire Lightning was bowling the final ball of the ninth over, with the score at 81-2, with Duckett batting on 29 runs. Duckett, batting for the Notts Outlaws, attempted a paddle scoop with the spin, but it was a pre-empted shot read by wicket-keeper Vilas. Vilas covered the ground to his right to block that shot, and did so successfully — but in the process, also managed to pop the ball into the air off his chest.
The South African Vilas, now a veteran of the game at 37-years-old, displayed the reflexes of a man many years younger, and was quick to realize that the ball had gone up into the air and presented an opportunity for a dismissal. Although at first he was slightly wrong-footed, he quickly changed direction, smartly turning to his left and covering ground before pulling off a dive, completing the catch.
Duckett was left stood at the crease, shell-shocked by the mixture of bad luck and clever game sense which Vilas had put on show, while the Lancashire players celebrated the dismissal. Nottinghamshire would reach 179-7, but it would not be enough as Lancashire chased it down with 10 balls to spare, thanks to a partnership between Steven Croft and Dane Vilas, both 37-years-old. Vilas, also the captain of the Lancashire Lightning, completed a half-century to go with his dismissal of Duckett, capping a good day at the office for the Lancashire skipper.
Thanks to the victory, Lancashire now sit top of the North Group table in the Vitality Blast competition, having a record of 7 wins and 2 loss along with one no-result in 10 matches. The match was the fifth loss for Nottinghamshire, who find themselves 3-5 after nine matches.