Arrival of Albie Morkel after taking part in the South African Domestic T20 league has been a blessing in disguise for the depleted Chennai Super Kings. Titans All-Rounder Albie Morkel and Highveld Lions’ go to man Chris Morris arrived in Chandigarh on Tuesday on the eve of Super Kings’ second match against Kings XI Punjab. Morkel, CSK’s trump card for the past 5 seasons and their new signing Chris Morris made themselves unavailable for CSK’s first match against Mumbai Indians on Saturday in order to take part in the finals of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge which was eventually won by Highveld Lions.
Albie Morkel Returns
In the mean time, Mumbai Indians sneaked a narrow win against the favourites Chennai Super Kings. CSK playing without Morkel had to take some tough decision while choosing the playing XI. CSK usually dependent on their All-Rounders have been handicapped by the absence of Albie Morkel. In the place of Morkel, they went in with Aussie Rookie Pacer Ben Laughlin who had a decent outing with the ball. But Morkel’s absence was badly felt in the CSK’s modest run chase of 149 runs where the Chennai batsmen lost their wickets at regular interval. Usually the Chennai batting order goes deep with Albie Morkel, “SIR” Ravindra Jadeja or Subramaniam Badrinath batting at no.8 depending upon the situation and Ravichandran Ashwin at no.9 gives them a slight edge in batting.
Albie’s absence proved costly after the 15th over. It was a period when MS Dhoni needed a big-hitter at the other end in the pursuit of over 60 in the last 5 overs. The match was expected to go in CSK’s favour until the start of 16th over. The crucial 16th over bowled by Munaf Patel which was started with a six by Jadeja eventually had the much needed wicket of Jadeja which opened the gate for tailenders. Ashwin too didn’t Last long. The 17th over bowled by Pollard brought CSK closer to a win but the wicket of Laughlin forced MS Dhoni to skip some valuable runs to prevent Ankit Rajpoot from facing the Mitchell Johnson. With 12 needed off the last over, Dhoni got out first ball thanks to a splendid catch by Keiron Pollard. Fall of Dhoni’s Wicket assured that CSK lost the match by 9 runs.
Had Morkel played that match, CSK would have had a perfect man to support Dhoni in the run chase. Morkel had done it in the past time and time again. His Absence proved costly for the Super Kings which lacked fire power in its batting Line-up. Albie Morkel bowled only 2.3 overs in the finals of Ram Slam T20 challenge due to an injury which was suppose to rule him out of action for atleast ten days. Later he was declared fit for the IPL match against Kings XI Punjab. This news would have made their skipper happy. His inclusion brings balance to the team and makes CSK favourites for the match against Kings XI.
Morne Morkel, AB De Villiers, Roelof Van Der Merwe, Alfonso Thomas and others who were a part of the Ram Slam T20 challenge finals have reported to their respective IPL franchises.