Every year, one chink in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) armoury has been their death bowling. The team has been guilty of leaking crucial runs at the death, thus losing many games that could have been won. During the IPL 2020 auction, RCB acquired Sri Lankan T20 specialist Isuru Udana and South African all-rounder Chris Morris in order to shore up their bowling line-up.
Morris couldn’t be a part of RCB’s playing XI for their initial five games this season as he was recovering from a niggle. In his absence, RCB was leaking runs in the death overs, despite their bowling line-up performing better than previous editions of the league. Skipper Virat Kohli’s constant mention of how Morris will be an automatic pick in the playing eleven as soon as he becomes available, showed the faith RCB have in him.
In their encounter against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday, Morris made his RCB debut. All eyes were on him as he is an allrounder -- pace bowler, effective in any part of the innings, a capable fielder and a useful hitter. He returned with impressive figures of three wickets for 19 runs in his four overs. He was also one of the main reasons RCB was able to put pressure on CSK’s batting line-up towards the end of their run chase.
In an exclusive interview with ESPNcricinfo, Sanjay Manjrekar and Tom Moody gave their views on how Morris could benefit RCB.
Former Indian player and commentator Sanjay Manjrekar lavished praise on Chris Morris for his performance in Saturday’s clash against CSK. “The way he bowled, had answers to all the questions and wasn’t predictable. He bowled superbly and Virat Kohli was so relaxed that he could finish Saini (designated bowling quota) much earlier and with Udana there, he is made for death bowling. His USP being taking the pace off the pitch every time, so yes for the moment it looks like they (RCB) have sorted their death bowling,” he said.
Agreeing with Manjrekar’s observations was Tom Moody, former coach of SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) and cricket commentator. He said, “Morris is a very important addition in RCB’s line-up. They bought him specifically at the auction for this role. He has got those great death over skills, he gets the yorkers in. He is a lot quicker than a lot of people expect him to be. He is also going to be a handy power hitter down the order if he’s given a chance.”
RCB are currently fourth in the points table with four wins and two losses. They will face Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday at Sharjah.