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Shirin Sadikot in Durban

Dot balls are key in T20: Morris

After taking 2 for 7, Lions pacer reveals simple plan - more the pressure, more the wickets

Figures: 4-0-7-2 at 1.75 runs per over. Wickets taken: David Warner (21) and Kevin Pietersen (50). The best of bowlers will be proud to achieve those numbers and names in the longer formats of cricket. Chris Morris has done it in a T20 game... in the CLT20 semi-final... while defending 139 runs.

After his team defeated the Delhi Daredevils by 22 runs, Alviro Petersen said they finished 10-15 runs short of the total they had in mind, especially given the daunting batting line-up of their opponents. But when one of your bowlers bowls like that, as a captain you needn’t worry too much about the missing runs.

As for Morris, the performance came because “it was just my day and the wicket was my type”. His words were as simple as his bowling plan, which is all about denying runs to the batsman. In four overs, Morris bowled 13 run-less deliveries.

“I think bowling dot-balls is the key in T20 cricket. That’s what puts pressure on the batsmen and gets you a wicket. The more pressure you create, the more number of wickets you’ll get.”

Morris was spot on. The pressure that was built between overs six and nine – only 13 runs came off those four overs – led Warner to top-edge a short ball in the air and into the bowler’s hands. Later in the innings, it was the pressure of the mounting asking rate that resulted in an indiscreet shot by a well-set Pietersen.

Morris thought dismissing two of the most dangerous batsmen of DD “was not too bad” and admitted, “KP’s wicket was a lot sweeter since I’d dropped his catch.” Morris had grassed a chance at long-on off Jean Symes a couple of overs earlier.

After picking each wicket, Morris made a gesture towards his red arm-band. Was it to remind people of the power of red? No, it meant something else. “I’ve got a couple of mates back home who’ve told me to tap the arm-band every time I take a wicket so that they know I’m thinking of them at that moment.”

What a lot of other people are thinking is about the possibility of the CLT20 final being an action replay of the MiWAY T20 Challenge – South Africa’s domestic T20 tournament – if the Titans beat the Sydney Sixers in the second semi-final. But Morris isn’t concerned about who his team’s opponents in the final will be.

“That’s what’s everyone is talking about at the moment – having a rematch. But we’re just looking forward to having a next game. We’ll have a good celebration tonight and start preparing for the final from tomorrow.”

But who would the Lions rather face in the grand finale? “It doesn’t matter because we’ve played them both. Titans are the South African team and we’ve played Sydney Sixers in Cape Town. Whoever wins, good luck to them.”

The coolness that he maintained for the best part of his interview with
clt20.com, deserted Morris when asked to describe what making it to the final of the CLT20 means to him? “I’m speechless at the moment. What an unbelievable day! The emotions that have gone into today’s game are just something else. I’m just happy that we’ve made it till the end.”

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