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‘UNBELIEVABLE!’ was the one word that debutant Chris Morris used often as he discussed and described his various experiences since arriving in India for the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013. The young all-rounder landed in India to play in the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013 after being part of the Lions team that won Ram Slam T20 Challenge on April 7 and helped the Chennai Super Kings win their first match of the season.
Morris hit the ground running when he stepped on the field at Mohali to make his IPL debut. Roped in by the Chennai Super Kings ahead of the season he added to the team’s armoury as they looked to beat the Adam Gilchrist-led side at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in the battle of the Kings.
The tall pacer claimed Azhar Mahmood as his first scalp of the premier competition and gave the visitors a major breakthrough after Dirk Nannes had dealt early blows to the home team. He followed it up with a superb catch off Dwayne Bravo to send back Rajagopal Sathish and also removed Ryan Harris to finish with 4-0-27-2.
Looking back upon his contribution to a winning cause he told iplt20.com, “Unbelievably happy with my first (match). If anyone would have told me before the game what my figures would have been I would have taken it. I am happy with the performance and the guys played really well.”
Recalling his first wicket of the IPL claimed a few hours back, the excited pacer said, “It was unbelievable to get the first. I knew he was going to have a go. I thought I would take the pace off (the ball) and fortunately it worked for me and because he is quite a dangerous player. I am very happy that my plans worked.”
But it wasn’t as smooth sailing as it seemed. The youngster did have butterflies in his stomach and spent a nervous night preceding the big day. “I found out yesterday (that I was going to play). I had a bit of a run on with the team and Stephan Fleming came to me and said we need you in this role. Then I had a rough night’s sleep and got it together this morning. But yes very exciting. I left my bag at the hotel so quite nervy but very, very happy with the result.”
Besides his own contribution, the rest of the bowling attack worked in tandem with each other after Dirk Nannes set the ball rolling with the wickets of both the KXIP openers while Dwayne Bravo claimed three. Reflecting on the performance of the bowling unit to restrict the hosts to a small total, he said, “I think we bowled well. It was a good wicket to bat on, and I thought the guys played well to pull it back the way they did. They got a good start so I am very happy with the way we pulled things back in the end.”
“Unbelievable! Lovely to watch the guys, they are brilliant,” he said while talking about the Murali Vijay-Michael Hussey partnership that took them to victory without losing a wicket.
It hasn’t been long since he came into the CSK fold but already feels part of the star studded twice champions team.
Speaking about his team Morris said, “Coming into the team I know the fitness trainer very well and I also know couple of other players as well. It’s quite a family environment and they are close knit. The last day and half has been unbelievable. They are very nice guys, very welcoming and have an unbelievable team spirit.”
“God, I am rubbing shoulders with some of the greatest players that have played the game. I am still a youngster and enjoying every second of it,” he gushed about sharing space with some of the best in the game.
“He is very, very different. He is very calm and laid back. Unbelievable, there are some good ideas and lot of responsibility on the bowlers,” he observed on skipper MS Dhoni.
The youngster who is in India for the first time, felt a little different on the Mohali track and said, “There is not as much bounce as South Africa and that I have to get used to, but I will work in practice and every single game and I will get better.
“Unbelievable! The crowds are absolutely insane and (I am) loving it. I have never waved so much at a crowd in my life,” stated the youngster who witnessed packed, passionate and vociferous crowds for the first time in his career.
200: David Hussey was playing his 200th Twenty20 match. He became only the second player after Albie Morkel (217) to do so.
100: Praveen Kumar was playing in his 100th Twenty20 match. He became the 17th Indian to do so.
32: Runs added by Kings XI Punjab while losing their last seven wickets – from 106/3 to 138 all out!
9: Number of batsmen dismissed caught in Kings XI Punjab innings- equals IPL record. Deccan Chargers (v Mumbai Indians in 2012) and Delhi Daredevils (v Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2012) had also lost 9 wickets in this fashion.
6: Number of times a team has won a match in IPL by 10 wickets. The other instances are: DC beat MI (2008), DD beat KXIP (2009-D/L), RCB beat RR (2010), RR beat MI (2011) and MI beat RR (2012).
2: The Mike Hussey–Murali Vijay pair became only the second pair to put on two century opening stands after the pair of Swapnil Asnodkar–Graeme Smith for Rajasthan Royals.