TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
WELCOME back JP Duminy. You again Chris Morris. If SA’s World T20 warm-up match against India in Mumbai on Saturday was a Bollywood movie it might have been called, “Something old, something new.”
Duminy’s 67 was his first half-century in a SA shirt in 18 completed innings across all formats, a lean run stretching back to October and the first match of the tour to India.
Together Duminy and Morris earned SA victory by four runs, a result that would have assured the visitors that their preparation for the tournament proper was on track.
Quinton de Kock’s 56 and Duminy’s effort – and their stand of 77 – took SA to a towering total of 196/8.
India whittled that down to a dozen runs an over going into the last five, and 14 off the last.
MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, two of the most feared hitters in the game, hulked at the crease …
Morris, who has built a reputation this season as a match-winner with the bat, stood at the top of his run, ball in hand …
“We know how dangerous MS is – I’ve played against him and we know he can clear the boundary quite easily,” Morris told reporters in Mumbai after the dust had settled. “It was nerve-wracking but obviously good practice.”
Morris began with a yorker-length delivery outside Dhoni’s off-stump: dot ball. Then a smeared single. Then Yuvraj clipped a couple, and then a single. Dhoni celebrated being back on strike by smashing a full toss for four.
One ball left. Six runs to score.
Morris aimed another yorker-length effort outside Dhoni’s off-stump: wide.
One ball left again. Five runs to score.
What was Morris’ plan?
“If I told you you would have to be in our team,” he said. “We spends lots of hours behind the scenes trying to figure out where not to bowl to people.
“What used to be a ball you couldn’t hit has changed to a ball you could hit anywhere on the ground. Hence, AB de Villiers – he can hit a ball anywhere.”
A scudding full toss was Morris’ plan. All Dhoni could do was hit it to square leg. One run was all they wrote.
“I was happy I could nail parts of what I wanted to in that last over,” Morris said.
“There wasn’t much on it as it was a warm-up match but any win is important for us and momentum is an important part of this game.”
Which wasn’t how Duminy saw things when he spoke to reporters on Friday: “Yes, it’s about momentum coming into this tournament. But it’s about the sort of performances you produce.”
Whatever. One performance has been produced. Another, against a Mumbai Cricket Association XI, should follow on Tuesday.