Catches, as cricket aficionados remind us, win matches, yet one taken by Michael Morton during the fifth one-day international between West Indies and New Zealand, yesterday, earned the spectator NZ$100,000 (TT$529,786).
The 28-year-old Morton took a spectacular one-handed catch while sitting on the Seddon Park bank off a Kieran Powell six to win the prize as part of a local beer brand’s competition at New Zealand’s limited-overs matches.
“He smashed it pretty hard, so it was going pretty quick,” Morton told Fairfax Media in Hamilton.
“My dad was sitting next to me and he yelled out, ‘Michael’. I stood up and then I thought it was going to drop down in front of me, but it sailed straight into my hand.
“They’re pretty short boundaries, so I knew it was going to go pretty fast.
“If it was a skyer, plenty of people would have had a chance to get underneath it, but it was pretty flat, so no one really had any reaction time.”
Morton was the first person to succeed in the competition, which had staked NZ$100,000 for the first one-handed catch by a fan at each of the 12 limited-overs matches against West Indies (five ODIs and two T20s) and India (five ODIs).
The closest anyone had come to taking a catch was in the third match in Queenstown when several members of the crowd, who were required to wear a branded T-shirt to be eligible for the prize, were diving all over the bank and advertising hoardings in attempts to snare the ball.
New Zealand hit 22 sixes in that match with Corey Anderson belting 14 in his world record fastest one-day international century. West Indies added another four.
Morton, who told Sky television he regularly sat in the same spot for cricket matches at the ground, said he would need to discuss with his wife how to spend the money.