The Titans became the first team to win three successive T20 titles in the most emphatic fashion, hammering the Dolphins by seven wickets with 53 balls to spare, their win set up by their efforts in the field as they dismissed the visitors for just 100.
“I’m very proud of the guys, I asked them to raise the bar, I knew we had another gear and we played some fantastic cricket. We were brilliant in the field and our intensity was just too much for the Dolphins. They came out super-aggressive, but we were able to counter that with some very skilful bowling,” said Morkel.
Coach Mark Boucher was also happy to rate the effort in the field as the best of the campaign.
“I think that was our best performance of the season in the field. There were a couple of tough chances that went down, but if you don’t see the ball, you can’t catch it. But the guys were otherwise really switched on, the energy was awesome and the ground fielding was fantastic,” said Boucher.
Fast bowler Chris Morris was the individual match winner with his tremendous figures of four for 13, the best ever in a franchise T20 final, beating the four for 24 Faf du Plessis took with his leg-spinners for the Titans against the bizhub Highveld Lions at the Wanderers in 2011/12, leading them to a 45-run victory.
But the always humble Morris gave credit to his fellow quicks, Lungi Ngidi, who he said is going to be a Proteas stalwart, and Junior Dala.
“It was very satisfying to break the record, especially after taking a bit of tap lately. It was Tabraiz Shamsi’s turn to do it last time, and it could easily have been Lungi or Junior taking four wickets tonight because they bowled very well, and Malusi Siboto changed the final with his double-wicket maiden.
“I felt stiff and sore in the warm-up, but the first ball hit the deck and swung, and then my rhythm felt good and the ball came out well. Lungi is going to play for South Africa for many years, he’s got something special and a very good head on his shoulders, while Junior is bowling quicker than I’ve seen for a long time. So the pressure never left the Dolphins,” Morris said.
The Titans have now won nine trophies in the last seven seasons and the 36-year-old Morkel said that when he does retire one day, this will be the part of his career he looks back on with the most fondness.
“It feels amazing and when I’m done with my career I will look back on this era as one of the highlights. It’s always a great relief to win a final, but to be a part of this squad that has now won a hat-trick of T20 titles will be something I always remember,” said Morkel.