Nine games into this season’s franchise T20 competition and the most economical bowlers among those who have sent down at least six overs are…?
Not Jon-Jon Smuts‚ who was last season’s leader in this category. Nor Andrew Birch. Aaron Phangiso? No. Titans twosome Albie Morkel and Aiden Markram are who you’re looking for.
That’s right: a 36-year-old journeyman with 302 T20s on the clock and a part-time off-spinner who is destined to be far more illustriously remembered for his batting. Morkel has begrudged runs at 4.66 to the over and Markram at 5.12.
Morkel has bowled six overs and Markram eight. But of the 46 players who have turned an arm over going into Wednesday’s match between the Dolphins and the Warriors, only six have had 10 or more overs.
So the point stands. And it is not a blip in the stats — last season Morkel finished the tournament as the third-most miserly bowler with at least 20 overs under his belt by banking an economy rate of 6.70.
None of which came as news to Dolphins coach Grant Morgan: "The Lions tried to smack Albie [who took 3/12 in three overs in that match] but they lost wickets; batsmen are just not getting hold of him.
"Markram was part of a collapse against the Warriors [when he took 3/21 in four]‚ and he’s a nifty‚ crafty guy. No one’s surprised that Albie does well; he’s a hell of a player. He probably prefers batting at this stage of his career‚ so bowling is just something he does well.
"With Markram‚ bowling is his second string. Maybe they’re not putting pressure on themselves. They’re both highly intelligent‚ so they’re reading situations well and bowling the right ball at the right time without panicking. Sometimes raw pace can fly and‚ with lack of pace‚ you can execute well."
There is something to be said for an event that showcases the talents of players who are at opposite ends of careers. It is early days yet in the competition‚ but there is every reason to look forward to more of the same from Morkel and Markram and who knows who else.