Nattakan Chantam, may have faced only a solitary ball in Trailblazers' three matches. Still, the live-wire fielder pulled off an extraordinary dive near the boundary line that saved a certain four against Supernovas in the final on Monday that her team won. Chantam, the lone Thai player to play in the Women's T20 Challenge, won all-round applause for her outstanding effort.
Nattakan's jaw-dropping effort was akin to a swimmer's dive in a pool, and she didn't seem to worry one bit about an injury that it might have caused. Chasing an outside edge off Jemimah Rodrigues's bat off a ball from Sophie Ecclestone, 24-year-old Nattakan gave her all to prevent the ball from crossing the boundary line.
That effort, which saved two runs for her team, came in the second over as Supernovas chased Trailblazers' 118 for eight wickets in 20 overs at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
The video clip of Nattakan has since gone viral and won praise from many, including contemporary players like England's Kate Cross. "Worth it for this piece of fielding though," Kate wrote while commenting on a tweet that attached the video of Nattakan's effort.
Standing at short third man position, Nattakan sprinted towards the boundary like a 100m sprinter and stopped the ball from crossing the rope. And just when she realised that the ball might win the race, Nattakan put a stunning dive near the ropes and flicked the ball back, making a magnificent save.
"I just saw a boundary save in the women's T20 challenge from Chantam that was as good as anything I saw in 59 IPL matches this season!" tweeted commentator Joy Bhattacharya.
Several Twitter users commended Nattakan for her brilliant fielding effort.
What a save! - She is Nattakan Chantam, the first player from Thailand to play the Women’s T20 Challenge for Trailblazers and has stunned the internet with her superb fielding effort. #sports #cricket #WomensCricket #WomensT20Challenge #NattakanChantam #BCCI pic.twitter.com/RwmwGpm29i— Indranil Mukherjee (@thisisindra) November 10, 2020
Later in the Supernovas' innings, Nattakan took a brilliant catch at cover-point to help dismiss the dangerous Jemimah off spinner Deepti Sharma. Jemimah managed just 13 off 16 balls, and her team was eventually restricted to 102 for seven wickets in 20 overs, which gave Tralblazers' their first title with a 16-run verdict.
Earlier in the final, when Traiblazers batted, Nattakan got to play the last ball of the innings and was run out for nought. It was perhaps her desire to overcome the disappointment of not getting the opportunity to bat in two earlier matches and failing to contribute in the final that motivated her further in the outfield.
Recently, West Indies' Nicholas Pooran had come out with a stunning fielding effort during the ninth match of Indian Premier League. In the eighth over of Rajasthan Royals' chase of 224 against Kings XI Punjab, Sanju Samson had played a pull shot off Murugan Ashwin. Pooran, standing at deep mid-wicket, dived full length over the rope to catch the ball.
The West Indian caught the ball while hanging in the air and realising that he wouldn't be able to get back inside the boundary line with the ball, he threw it in -- all the while being suspended in thin air - and saved a certain six.