At the 2016 IPL auction in Bengaluru, Delhi Daredevils spent Rs 7 crore to acquire the services of South African seamer Chris Morris. It was clearly a baffling price. The reasoning was that in Morris, the team management sees a handy all-rounder; his lofty strikes could be of help in the IPL. On Wednesday, Morris vindicated Delhi’s gamble, almost.
Morris took Delhi close to the finish line with his power hitting, but couldn’t help the team cross it as Delhi fell short by a run. Needing 15 in the final over, Morris got a reprieve on the first ball of Dwayne Bravo’s over. The Caribbean’s tight yorkers instead ensured Gujarat Lions walked out of the match with a narrow victory.The win, their fifth of the season, took Lions to the top of table.
There were many notable performances from the Lions team, especially from Dwayne Smith (53) and Brendon McCullum (60), giving the team a roaring start.
Later Dhawal Kulkarni nearly broke Delhi’s spine with three wickets in the opening spell. But Wednesday belonged to Morris, who stood out with his unbeaten 82 off 32 deliveries, including 8 sixes and four boundaries. He also picked two important scalps which had broken the Lions’ momentum, thus restricting them to 172.
Morris batted like a warrior to give Delhi’s public a worth their money. His innings was special in many ways as it not only contained lusty and clean hitting but also the way he batted along a set JP Duminy after Delhi had lost four wickets. At that stage more than ten runs an over was the asking rate and it was expected from the South African duo to take the game deeper.
In the tenth over, Delhi had taken a time-out and alongside Rahul Dravid, a padded-up Morris too had ambled to the centre. A lot of eyebrows were raised as to why Morris had gone in the middle and moreover what could he have to share with the batsmen. When Morris joined Duminy in the twelth over, 101 runs were required. The duo were aware that the bowlers will have problems gripping the ball due to dew and they waited for the lose deliveries. While Duminy kept patient and nurdled the strike, it was the tall Morris who showed his reach and brute strength to clear the boundary at ease.
He picked leggie Pravin Tambe and dispatched him for three sixes over the straight boundary to bring the asking rate down. Then it was Dwayne Smith and Dwayne Bravo who came under his radar. Smith had no option but to bowl straight and Morris picked him and tonked him for another two sixes. While most batsmen would have difficulties picking Bravo’s slower one but Morris was never troubled. In fact he came strong and punished the variety with ease and style. But when it mattered the most, Morris was sorted by ‘Champion’ Bravo.