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IPL 2021 Auctions: What Made Chris Morris The Most Expensive Player in IPL Auction History?

There would have been some celebrations in the capital of South Africa - Pretoria yesterday. They had good reason to. Their very own, Christopher Henry Morris became the most expensive player in the history of the IPL Auctions attracting a sum of a whopping INR 16.25 crore by the Rajasthan Royals. Morris surpassed the record set by the Indian superstar Yuvraj Singh who was bought by the Delhi Daredevils for INR 15 crore in 2015.

IPL 2021 Auctions: What Made Chris Morris The Most Expensive Player in IPL Auction History?

There would have been some celebrations in the capital of South Africa - Pretoria yesterday. They had good reason to. Their very own, Christopher Henry Morris became the most expensive player in the history of the IPL Auctions attracting a sum of a whopping INR 16.25 crore by the Rajasthan Royals. Morris surpassed the record set by the Indian superstar Yuvraj Singh who was bought by the Delhi Daredevils for INR 15 crore in 2015.

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Morris is a fine bowling all-rounder, an intelligent cricketer but at 33 not amongst the youngest going around in the T20 format. There was a clear trend at the 2021 Auctions where preference was given to youth even at the cost of experience. Several older and big names in the format were ignored or bought at nominal prices. Then why did Morris break the pattern and defied the norm and set an auction record?

A Great All-Round Package

Morris is a fast-medium bowler whose multiple skills with the bat and ball make him a sought after commodity especially in T20 cricket. He can crank up a speed of between 140 to 145 kms per hour consistently, has a number of variations including slower deliveries and can produce blitzkrieg cameos in the lower order changing the course of a match in a matter of a few deliveries. Combine this with his experience of having played in 218 T20 matches across the big leagues across the world - the IPL, Big Bash League, Caribbean Premier League amongst others and you have a great package.

It is for this reason that the South African all-rounder had also fetched a sum of Rs 11 crore from the Delhi Daredevils in 2018 and 10 crore from Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2020.

A Wicket-Taking Restrictive Fast Bowler

Morris has not made much of an impact with the bat for South Africa but his wicket-taking prowess stands out even in international T20 cricket. He has picked 34 wickets in 23 matches at a strike rate of 14.6. He was very impressive on his T20I debut against New Zealand in Durban in 2012 where he saw the back of the dangerous Colin Munro and Corey Anderson conceding just 19 runs in 3.4 overs. This is what Morris does best - he picks up wickets in the middle overs and more often than not is also very restrictive.

He has bagged 270 wickets in 218 T20 matches at a very fine strike rate of 17 and economy rate of 7.76. This suggests that not only is Morris amongst the wickets but also contains the opposition batsmen with his variations and slower deliveries. Morris has 8 four-wicket hauls in his career with a best of 4 for 9. He was the leading wicket-taker for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants in the Mzansi Super League in 2018 where he picked 9 wickets in 7 matches.

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Morris has been a consistent performer in the IPL. He bagged 15 wickets in 2013, 13 wickets at a strike rate of under 20 and economy rate of 7.4 in 2015, 13 wickets at an economy rate of just 7 in 2016 and 12 wickets at a strike rate of 15.5 and economy rate of again under 8 in 2017. He again returned with 13 wickets at a strike rate of 15.23 in 2019.

Morris made an immediate impact with the ball for the RCB in the last edition of the IPL in UAE. He ended with a tally of 11 wickets in 9 matches at a strike rate of 17.27 at economy rate of 6.63 - a combination of his wicket-taking propensity and restrictive ability making him one the best fast bowlers of the tournament. He was brilliant both in the powerplay and at the death - Morris had an economy rate of 6.26 in the powerplay and 7.03 at the death in the last 6 matches for RCB in the season.

A Destructive Hitter in the Lower-Order

Morris' batting strike rate is as impressive as his bowling one! He scores at a rate of 151.02 in all T20 cricket at a healthy average of 21 making him a very dangerous lower-order batsman capable of changing the course of a match in a matter of a few deliveries. Morris had a 30-plus average and 160-plus strike rate in four consecutive IPLs between 2015 and 2018.

He slammed an unbeaten 34 off just 11 deliveries for the Royals against Sunrisers in Mumbai in 2015. Morris blasted the fastest 25-plus score in IPL history in 2017 when he smashed an undefeated 38 off just 9 deliveries (4 fours and 3 sixes) at a strike rate of 422.22 - equivalent to hitting more than a boundary per ball - for the Daredevils against Supergiant in Pune. He had also produced a cameo for RCB last season with an unbeaten 25 off 8 deliveries (3 sixes) against Kings XI Punjab in Sharjah.

His highest score in the IPL came against Gujarat Lions in 2016 when batting at number 6 for Delhi Daredevils, he came out to bat at 57 for 4 in the 11th over and hammered a magnificent unbeaten 82 off just 32 deliveries including 8 massive sixes! Chasing 173, he single-handedly almost took the Daredevils to a miraculous win only to go down by a solitary run. This innings not only showcased his hitting prowess but his ability to fightback and get his team out of a hole under pressure.

Overall Morris a bowling strike rate of 18.42 and economy rate of 7.81 and batting strike rate of 157.87 in his IPL career. These are very impressive numbers for any player in the most coveted T20 league in the world. Combine with these his phenomenal consistency in the tournament over the years and there you have Chris Morris - the most expensive player ever sold in the history of the IPL Auctions!