South African speedster Morne Morkel expressed personal satisfaction over his performance with the ball against Pakistan on Wednesday (June 7). Even though South Africa lost the encounter, Morkel put on a show by picking up three wickets, conceding only 18 runs in his seven overs.
The tall fast bowler, who is on a comeback trail after a long injury layoff, was playing just his third One-Day International in almost a year. "I think because in the last eight months there were a lot of uncertainties with me, and to come out tonight in a big competition and do something with the ball, it is something special," Morkel said after the game. "When I walked onto the field, it was on the back of my mind. It was really an opportunity for me to stand up. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be [the result]. But we have to write the night off and look to the next one."
With South Africa reaching the top spot in the ODI rankings in Morkel's absence, there were certainly doubts over his future in the format especially at the age of 32. While admitting to such uncertainties, Morkel revealed that he chose to wait for his opportunity and make the most of it.
"The best thing for me was to block all those (thoughts) out and focus on when I get opportunity to grab it with both hands," he pointed out. "The team has done exceptionally well in the past couple of months, becoming No. 1 team with all-rounders. So I understood that as a player, to be able to just wait for my turn and make the most of it. Luckily things are going well now at the moment. So, (I'm) happy."
Defending 219, AB de Villiers introduced Morkel into the attack in the sixth over of the innings. He struck in his second over, getting rid of Fakhar Zaman, who started off impressively. Two balls later, he picked out Azhar Ali with a bouncer to bring his side back into the contest. He bowled five overs on the trot and had conceded only seven runs in the spell before de Villiers took him off. In hindsight, it didn't appear like a great move considering South Africa needed more wickets with the rain lurking around. "Yeah it was playing on the back of my mind," Morkel conceded. "We were chasing the game and were dying to pick up another wicket or two before the rain came.
"We knew the rain was on the way. So maybe to bowl upfront would've been a smart move. But you never know. It's a sort of catch-22 situation. The balls came out nicely tonight."
Having bowled only four overs prior to the tournament, Morkel revealed that he would get better the more he bowls. And with a must-win game against holders India looming, South Africa will need him at full tilt. "I think the more I bowl, the better I get," he pointed out. "I didn't bowl a hell of a lot of overs in this tournament and leading up to it. So, yes I am happy how my body is feeling at the moment."