Faf du Plessis lauded Imran Tahir’s role in the 31-run victory on Wednesday night, which also involved an uncharacteristic tussle with David Warner.
Tahir is a passionate player, and you only have to look at the way he celebrates to know that. When he bowled Australian skipper Steve Smith for his second wicket of the evening on Wednesday, he sprinted up to the Newlands crowd with his hand gripped to the badge of his shirt. That is trademark Tahir.
His passion doesn’t usually stray towards bad behaviour however, and that is what the ICC deemed enough to slap him with a fine – 30% of his match fee – when he appeared to have an altercation with Australian batsman David Warner and the umpires.
Warner, who’s well-known to cross the verbal exchange line but avoided a fine for his role, was humorous in his response to the situation at the post-match press conference.
‘What happens on the field stays on the field,’ said Warner. ‘I have no idea what sparked it. It’s the first time in my life I haven’t said anything!’
Proteas skipper Du Plessis was quick to defend 37-year-old Tahir, and the role he played throughout the series.
‘Imran is an absolute go-to man,’ said the captain. ‘He is the reason why we are where we are. Immy showed once again that he’s a competitor and he wants to win games. He’s my banker and I’m just happy he’s in my team. He wears his heart on his sleeve.
‘I haven’t seen him like that before but it just showed how badly he wanted to win the game. There was obviously just a few words but that’s just cricket and the competitive nature of it.’
Warner also took some time to acknowledge who he thinks will provide the biggest threat to the Aussies when the Proteas travel Down Under for the three-Test series next month. The Proteas head to Australia on Sunday with a two-day tour match starting on the 22nd.
‘You’ve always got to respect Dale,’ Warner said. ‘He’s a world-class athlete and you never want to upset him. He has this spark in him.
‘When he’s got that red ball in his hand he’s just a different bowler,’ added Du Plessis. ‘Dale will be the guy to make or break the series for us Down Under.’