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South Africa v Pakistan, Brisbane, World Cup 1992

Jonty launches himself

When Rhodes went airborne and into the stumps, and created a legacy

Trevor Chesterfield

October 30, 2010

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

West Indies v South Africa, 3rd ODI at Queen's Park (New) St George's , Grenada , 5th May 2001
Aka the Amazing Human Torpedo Rian Botes / © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

On a steamy, glowering Brisbane Sunday afternoon, South Africa's hopes of daring to dream of a World Cup semi-final place, or making the final, were faltering.

Jonty Rhodes, a blue-eyed bundle of 22-year-old energy, was lurking at point as an anxious Inzamam-ul-Haq and his captain, Imran Khan, worked the ball around, searching for runs; sweating with resolve, giving Pakistan the edge.

It is March 8, 1992: a buzzing Gabba crowd and television audiences both sides of the Indian Ocean are trying to understand the mathematical minefield of playing conditions with sneaky rain-interruption clauses. If you think Duckworth-Lewis is a conundrum, regulations employed for the 1992 World Cup gave a bigger sarcastic middle finger with its dirty imprint to the question of run-rate equation.

It was a game South Africa needed to win. An euphoric tournament-opening success over Australia in Sydney was followed with defeats by New Zealand and Sri Lanka before they beat West Indies in Christchurch.

In Brisbane rain had halted the Pakistan innings after South Africa scored a stodgy 211 for 7 in 50 overs. Imran Khan, on winning the toss, had gambled with the conditions. Rain and the absurd "best overs" run rate had Pakistan - 74 for 2 in the 22nd over at the interruption - facing a revised target of 194 in 36 overs.

As a prologue, months earlier a curious sports community had embraced cricket's prodigal child, South Africa, after a politically forced absence of 21 years, when they embarked on a historic tour of India. However, the side, led by Clive Rice, also received a grim lesson in strategy during that remarkable eight-day journey.

It became all too evident their gameplans were sadly festooned with outdated thinking. For the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, fresh ideas were needed and Kepler Wessels knew the conditions better than anyone. He had taken the tougher route to achieve a Test cap: Australia in preference to England, and learnt what was needed to survive in such a competitive environment. From this experience he knew how to compete on the big fields of Australia. It would demand fit, quick-thinking, streetwise players.

Rhodes had already established a template for fielding expertise before the tournament. Some of it adapted from hockey, where he was a dynamic player, teaching him alertness and anticipation. Having seen him close up in both sports, the run-out of Inzamam at the Gabba was not surprising.

The scoreboard reads 135 for 2, Inzamam, flails at the delivery and it flies off the pad; a prowling Rhodes at backward point swoops on the ball, a panicking Imran has Inzamam scooting back too late.

Memory recalls it in slow motion: Rhodes analytically processing the moment; in the next eight seconds he charges in, ball in hand, arm outstretched, dismantling the stumps to perform the most celebrated run-out and fielding act of the decade, creating an international reputation and establishing a legacy.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by BMayuresh on (November 2, 2010, 3:33 GMT)

@Pathiyal: Yes, there was a Indian Hero ... the actual WALL in terms of fielding who even had forced the great Don Bradman raise eyebrows....completely fearless and that was Ekki (The great Eknath Solkar) http://www.cricinfo.com/india/content/story/211897.html The only person you could compare Jonty to.... mark the carefully used words dont compare Ekki to Jonty but vice versa....the reason when Ekki played the safety measures were almost absent and even then the positions he stood at ... even Jonty has not dared that.

Posted by van_hauz on (October 31, 2010, 20:44 GMT)

@Avradeep. Some history lessons would really serve you well. You remember well that India beat Zimbabwe in WC92. But you claim it was the only match India won. Have you forgotten that India beat Pakistan too? Anyway, this is a piece about Jonty's run out and for sheer audacity and anti-gravity pyrotechnics, I don't think this piece of fielding can be surpassed. Anticipation, clarity of thought and execution. The only thing that comes close (and that is to say around 100 miles near Jonty's run out) would probably be Mohd Kaif's run out of Nick Knight at Kingsmead during the 2003 world cup.

Posted by cricketchopper on (October 31, 2010, 19:42 GMT)

Fawwad Baccus was a better fielder when it comes to catching. Once he was standing at short mid wicket against Pakistan. Batsman hit a hard short but he caught it from few years.

Posted by farhankhan82 on (October 31, 2010, 17:24 GMT)

Avradeep , as they say people have a short memory , other gentleman said the year 2001 and you say it was 1999 ,just to correct you, that Rain effected final between India and SouthAfrica was actually in February 1997(dont remember exact date)played in Kingsmead-Durban, SouthAfrica, and Rhodes took a blinder at point , completely airborne to catch hold of Sachin's severely cracking Square cut and send him back to pavilion, how ever in the re played final india fell short by just 18 Runs and this match was touted as "Can India repeat TITAN CUP FINAL" , 3 months earlier in Nov-1996 India had lost all league matches to SA but came back strongly to win the final at Mumbai. Really interesting were those days...players such as Donald,Pollock, Cronje,Kallis,kirsten and Sachin,Azhar,Dravid,Srinath, Robin singh etc were at their best.

Posted by   on (October 31, 2010, 14:41 GMT)

I am glad to be born in rhodes era.. i loved watching him..he made me dive for every ball even on flat surface

Posted by Pathiyal on (October 31, 2010, 12:15 GMT)

there could be debates such as Sach or Lara, Murali or Warne, Mcgrath or Wasim. but can anybody cook up some argument regarding who the best fielder the international cricket has ever witnessed? anybody??????

Posted by svalson on (October 31, 2010, 9:48 GMT)

He should be subjected to thorough check to confirm if he actually is human. Seriously. His antics on the field is humanly impossible.

Posted by asaduzzaman-khan on (October 31, 2010, 4:54 GMT)

Inzi is one of my favourite batsman, but still I like to watch the video of his runout by Rhodes. What a fielder he is!! I usually did not like to miss the match of SA when they are in fielding side because of J. Rhodes...... the gratest filelder all time.

Posted by   on (October 31, 2010, 2:03 GMT)

After Jonty I would rate Hershell Gibbs, Mohd Azzharudin, Chris Harris & Ricky Ponting as the best fielders in cover or square leg. Others like Roger Harper, Gus Logie, Viv Richards, Asif Iqbal, Abie Devilliers, Suresh Raina, Mohd Kaif and Paul Collingwood come next.

Posted by Avradeep on (October 30, 2010, 23:30 GMT)

@RK_cric and Praveen - It was the rain abandoned triseries final between IND and SA in the year 1999(Most probably & surely not 2001) . Jhonty took an unbelievable catch to send tendulkar to the pavilion. The third team was zimbabwe and we lost to them in the group stages. In the actual final - Donald and dravid were involved in an ugly spat. Dravid hit Donald for a six and Alan Donald uttered the four letter "F..." word to DRavid. India lost the match inspite of heroics from Dravid and Robin Singh. I vividly remember that.

In fact 1992 world cup is still fresh in my memory - i was only a 9 year old kid then. every moring i used to wake up to see Mark Greatbatch hitting a lot of sixes. Tendulkar made a blaing 50 against zimbabwe and that was the only match we won in 92 world cup. We lost by 1 run to Australia - Manjarekar tried his best, but it was due to those horrifying rain-interruption clauses. Those were much worse than duckworth lewis.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (October 30, 2010, 23:09 GMT)

I have not seen any body like Johnty rodes in cricket. What a fielder. He can be selected in all time ODI XI on the basis of his Fielding only. He can save 30 runs and he can make 35 runs, which makes his average about 65 runs per ODI which is phenominal.

He started the fielding revoluation in cricket. I have seen him droping once in my life and that was dolly but he was safest fielder i have ever seen. What a legend in cricket as far as fielding is concerned. In history of 130 years of cricket there is may be no better fielder than johnty rodes. All credit goes to his talent ang greatness.

Posted by   on (October 30, 2010, 22:19 GMT)

True - in a split second he married athleticism, decisiveness and precision! He saved runs by buckets, pulled of impossible stunners and made batsmen indecisive by reputation alone. However, his legacy is that cricket since has become a game where players are picked on specialist fielding skills alone. Can't ever tire of watching this guy on field ...

Posted by Murtaza. on (October 30, 2010, 20:55 GMT)

Great, I have my memories of 1992 world cup, first inthe final when Wasim Akram got two wickets of two unplayable jaffas, and second when Inzmamulhaq run out by Jonty Rohds great flying effort. that was amazing... all South African are best fielders but, He was great of them all.

Posted by smalishah84 on (October 30, 2010, 20:42 GMT)

The last paragraph says " dismantling the stumps to perform the most celebrated run-out and fielding act of the decade, creating an international reputation and establishing a legacy."

I think it was not only the most celebrated run-out and fielding act of the decade but probably the most celebrated run out ever.

Posted by THIMMU on (October 30, 2010, 20:31 GMT)

jonty rhodes is grtest feilder ,d crikceting world has seen.........hats off to this fielding legend

Posted by   on (October 30, 2010, 17:49 GMT)

i actually owe rhodes's test cap...wonder what its worth now??

Posted by insightfulcricketer on (October 30, 2010, 17:02 GMT)

Jonty will always be loved in India. I know we would have given our right hand to get one Jonty from SA .Almost like a brother we never had. How much he was loved could be gauged from the fact that when I arrived in Mumbai after a flight from Delhi at the eve of the World Cup 1996 and surprised to see a big 50 feet by 20 feet billboard right outside the terminal of Jonty going fully monty at the stumps airborne to break the wickets . Not the ones high up on a building but low enough height which kind of accentuated the impact. World Cup is here and so is Jonty! Much loved and appreciated. Jonty a king and inspiration to anybody who prides to bring his cricket trousers dirty at home and mauled fingers.

Posted by LACONFIDENTIAL on (October 30, 2010, 16:22 GMT)

18 years on...i still get goose bumps whenever i think of this event....a historical moment which changed the way cricket was played.

Posted by RK_cric on (October 30, 2010, 16:20 GMT)

Praveen, that still of Jonty was from the 1st final (Rain Abandoned game) back in Durban during the 2001 Tri series, if i am not mistaken Kenya was the third team of that tournament. I think we lost to Kenya in PE during the initial stages of the tournament.

Posted by zubair_civil on (October 30, 2010, 15:59 GMT)

//politically forced absence of 21 years// - Is that 2 years or 21 years??

Posted by   on (October 30, 2010, 13:34 GMT)

I think Kaif also performed a gr8 piece of art against England remember guys...

Posted by   on (October 30, 2010, 13:32 GMT)

there is a photo up there.. jonty once took a similar looking catch.. can anyone tell me the match... or a link to the video??? pleeeeessse....

Posted by varunrallapalli on (October 30, 2010, 11:26 GMT)

Jonty goes full monty!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by pranksters on (October 30, 2010, 10:56 GMT)

i am so lucky that i had actually seen the jonty's five @ brabourne stadium in 1993 it was eye catching @ telstradome,melbourne in 2000 it was the first roofed cricket tournament in the first match gilchrist tried to hook one & top edged it & it was a skier jonty as usual came down & took a blinder in the replay the white ball was invisible as the roof was full of spotlights making the white ball almost disappear while coming down but jonty made it look so simple if not jonty no one wuld have even dared to catch it

Posted by rookie4u on (October 30, 2010, 9:14 GMT)

Its a bird .. Its a plane .. NO its Jonty .. He is a all-time great fielder .. We miss you on the field.. Jonty

Posted by addiemanav on (October 30, 2010, 9:14 GMT)

the run-out was great..the tournamnent was superb..but the only thing that was a black mark was the rain-rule!the worst rules ever in a tournament..a team with 211 in 50 overs,is a runrate of around 4,and a target of 196 in 36 i almost 6..didnt the icc see that..idiots were heading the game..how can u possibly do that??

Posted by pranksters on (October 30, 2010, 8:58 GMT)

i was so lucky that i saw jontys amazing seven claims live @ brabourne stadium in 1994 lara was strangled @ the other side but jonty was so agile it was an unbelievable sunday @ telstradome australia in 2000 it was first roof covered mathces ever held i still remember gilchrist tried to pull one & instead top edged one straight in to the roof & jonty came running from rhodes point & the way he caught that one,was the best i have ever seen in the replay the ball was hardly visible as the flood lights which were attached to the roof they are all focusing down & in those flashy light white ball was not to be seen but jonty made it look like a piece of cake rhodes point is still rhodes point

Posted by ultrasnow on (October 30, 2010, 8:55 GMT)

Even Boycott's Granny can effect a run out when Inzi is at one end...

Posted by VK10 on (October 30, 2010, 7:56 GMT)

Inzy run out Rhodes revised the standards of ground-fielding. Later on, Ponting effected a similar run out vs SL at the non-striker's end. Technically, AB deVillier's tumbling shy at the non-striker's is the best run out I ever saw (all are available on YouTube. So, what was the next defining moment in fielding? I think it is the trick of palming the ball, overstepping the boundary line, and re-entering the line to complete the catch. IPL3 featured no less than 3 spectacular catches.

Posted by dsirl on (October 30, 2010, 7:42 GMT)

Where is it suggested that Inzy was at the non-striker's end (except in the comments)? "Inzamam misses a heave" surely implies that he was on strike!

And I have to second infintysquare's comment: Surely cricinfo can find a picture of THAT runout; for us a google image search for 'jonty rhodes brisbane' will do the trick!

Posted by thestunner316_15 on (October 30, 2010, 7:32 GMT)

ah - stil remember that day like it was yesterday... jonty is simply the greatest fielder of all time, not because he was the best... but he changed the way people looked at fielding... he was the messiah of modern fielding... an absolute legend... i can assure you people flocked to stadiums not just to watch a battle between great bowlers and great batsmen, but to see jonty throwing himself at backward point... quite simply - he was breathtaking... that one single instance of him throwing himself into the stumps made him a legend... and the world of cricket was never the same again.. top 5 most admired cricketers ever - without the slightest shadow of a doubt... jonty - ur the legend..

Posted by   on (October 30, 2010, 7:22 GMT)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liAm-ivSZzk&feature=related given the situation of the match, this is the only other run out of a similar nature that i can remember being more special. having said this, jonty rhodes is the greatest fielder of all time.

Posted by   on (October 30, 2010, 7:17 GMT)

Nice! I remember that WC vividly as a teenager. Whenever I hear the name Jonty Rhodes, all I can think of is great fielding. I used to love watching him at point or in the covers. He would bounce around and was almost sprinting as the bowler bowled. Balls that others would let go for 4 or were lucky to get a finger on, he would dive, clutch and throw as clean as a whistle. In the 90's, Rhodes & Gibbs were simply dynamite. A legacy the likes of AB & Duminy have carried on. The only other fielder I have seen live that comes close to Rhodes in terms of ground fielding is a young Ricky Ponting. But this article is about Jonty!!!

Posted by Lees_Legends on (October 30, 2010, 7:07 GMT)

@hemant.brar, VK10 and Sriram Srinivasan. Nowhere in this article does he say that Inzamam was the non-striker. The words "Inzamam misses a heave and seeks a quick leg bye" clearly states that he was the striker. If he was the non-striker then he wouldn't be heaving at the ball would he?

Posted by Cricinfo-Editorial on (October 30, 2010, 6:50 GMT)

Inzamam was indeed at the striker's end. Thanks to Vivek, Sriram and other readers for pointing out the error.

Posted by   on (October 30, 2010, 6:29 GMT)

tht last para...just gave me goose bumps!

Posted by tikna on (October 30, 2010, 5:53 GMT)

Probably this would easily be the most watched run out ever in the history.... The author sums it up beautifully in the last line "creating an international reputation and establishing a legacy"

Sure there would have been plenty of good may be even better fielders before and after Jonty but nobody made one want to really work hard at your own fielding and want to throw yourself around like Jonty did.

Another instance that springs to mind is during an India v SA match, mostly a one day and it was Klusner (and he was genuinely fast at that time) bowling to Sachin. The ball was short and Sach duely cut it hard , Jonty dove to his left(mostly or was it right?) and low to complete an impossible catch...... Replays showed it wasnt a clean catch and the ball did touch the grass when he landed but the sheer effort of getting to the ball deserved the wicket....Simply Awsome

Posted by Vivek.Bhandari on (October 30, 2010, 5:24 GMT)

Are you really sure that Inzy was at non-striker...??? well, I surely doubt it...please correct me if I'm wrong...but that can't deny that it IS the defining moment for the importance of fielding in ODIs...

Posted by infinitysquare on (October 30, 2010, 5:08 GMT)

An article about THAT run-out and yet you have a random photo of Jonty Rhodes. C'mon cricinfo, you can do better.

Posted by   on (October 30, 2010, 5:05 GMT)

Correction - Inzy was the striker not the non-striker in that epic dismissal

Posted by VK10 on (October 30, 2010, 4:56 GMT)

@Trevor: Words & words of pure opinion and yet so muddled on the fact: Inzy was at the striker's end (and not at the non-striker's).

Posted by hemant.brar on (October 30, 2010, 3:26 GMT)

It is under the heading The Best I've Watched. So one is expected to put it very right. Inzamam was the striker not the non-striker as mentioned in the second-last paragraph.

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