CHRIS MORRIS: AN UNLIKELY JOFRA ARCHER REPLACEMENT?
S. SOORAJ | 25st April 2021
Rajasthan Royals ended up at the bottom of the IPL table in the year 2020. Even though they had a decent start to their campaign, things went south after a point. and they couldn’t recover from that. Even though they had a poor campaign overall, there were a few talking points to their season. For instance, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament was at their disposal in Jofra Archer. He scalped 20 wickets at an average of 18.25 and proved to be RR’s valuable asset in the death overs as well.
RR’s IPL 2021 campaign started with a huge blow when Jofra Archer announced that he won’t be taking part in the IPL due to an injury. This truly was devastating news for the men in pink whose reliance on the English pacer was heavy. The Royals usually took the field with the same overseas contingent for the majority of last season with the likes of Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, and Jofra Archer. Of course, only a few teams would bench star-studded names like these.
However, with Smith out of the squad and injuries to both Stokes and Archer, RR had to switch things up in terms of the overseas department. Even though that seemed to be a lot of trouble for them, they seem to have found their way back into the game now. Especially because their record signing Chris Morris is showing a lot of promise and seems to be an unexpected replacement of the death-over specialist, Jofra Archer.
After being signed for a whopping Rs. 16.25 crores in the auction, not just a few but just about every eyebrow possible was raised on how the South African would do justice to the price tag. But Morris is proving to be worth the dough, game after game.
Even after a slow start in the first game against the Punjab Kings, the Proteas pacer won the second game for RR with the bat, smashing 36 runs off 18 balls against the Delhi Capitals and 29 of those runs coming in the final two overs.
Yesterday, against the Kolkata Knight Riders, Morris came to action with the ball, sending batsmen back to the pavilion on four different occasions in the game. He was splendid with the ball towards the death as he conceded just 14 runs out of 2 of the last 4 overs. After running out the KKR captain, Eoin Morgan for a duck in the 10th over, Morris came to life with the ball in the 18th over of the game where he picked two important wickets of the dangerous Andre Russell and the in-form Dinesh Karthik.
He kept up his form as he scalped two more in the final over of the innings, getting out the destructive Pat Cummins off a catch at the deep by Riyan Parag. Chris Morris’ death bowling heroics ensured that the Knight Riders were restricted to a mere total of 133 at the end of their 20.
Rajasthan Royals’ batting looked as confident as ever as they chased down this total with one over to spare and 6 wickets in hand as their captain Sanju Samson saw their side through with a sensible 42 off 41 balls.
If Chris Morris can consistently bowl the way he did last night in the death, a big problem will be off Samson’s chest as he can go to his main man without any doubts during the business end when his team has the ball in hand. Morris has proven to be a scintillating death bowler over the years and from the early glimpses of his performance for the Royal army, he only seems to get better.
If he can keep this up, Rajasthan Royals will barely miss Jofra Archer and can surely be a top contender to finish in the top four of this year’s IPL table.