TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
THE name’s Morris, Chris Morris, and he’s licenced to thrill. The last time the Wanderers saw him, in the fourth one-day international two Fridays ago, he won an unwinnable game for SA. At Newlands this Friday, in the first T20, the damn fool did it again.
England must be sick of the lean cut of his jib and his languid lope to the middle, looking more like a fella done working for the week and off to the pub than a man come to wreak havoc with his second string: the bat.
But, barring selectorial silliness or a failure of cricket’s sense of stage, the visitors will have to put up with Morris one more time, with feeling, in the second T20 at the Wanderers on Sunday.
Hell, send him in at the top of the order, why don’t ya?
Because, with players like Morris, less is more.
“The key is to get ‘Morrie’ to the crease not when there are four overs left, but when there are one or two overs left,” Faf du Plessis said at Newlands with starry, starry Friday night still in his eyes.
Morris, then, timed his entrance well nigh perfectly, taking guard with 11 balls left in the match. He faced seven of them and hit an unbeaten 17.
“He is very good at clearing the rope,” Du Plessis said. “He can hit sixes from ball one. Him and David Wiese can both it. It makes your batting line-up so destructive.
“When it’s going for you like it is for ‘Morrie’ it’s important that you ride the wave, and he is doing that. He is winning games and that makes him an x-factor player.”
So is Imran Tahir, who took 4/21 on Friday and almost bear-hugged the life out of Du Plessis after the captain held a fine catch to dismiss Moeen Ali first ball.
“We get excited when stuff we are working on falls into place,” Du Plessis said. “That was a big hug between me and ‘Immi’ because that’s exactly what we wanted to do.
“I said make him hit the ball to me at cover and he did exactly that. He is a fantastic bowler for us in T20 cricket. He wins games of cricket on his own. It’s a huge weapon to have.”
Tahir might find today’s pitch less receptive to his magic, but Friday’s memory will thump still in England’s minds.
“We want to try and put some scars mentally into England because we are going to see them in the first game of the (T20) World Cup,” Du Plessis said.
That’s on Friday, March 18 in Mumbai. Another Friday with ‘Morrie’?