Leg-spinner Imran Tahir emerged the proud recipient of a telling six-wicket haul, including a hat-trick, after South Africa comfortably beat Zimbabwe in Wednesday’s ODI at the Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein.
Tahir became the fourth South African to clinch an ODI hat-trick, which was split across two overs, after seamer Charl Langeveldt in 2005, spinner JP Duminy and fast bowler Kagiso Rabada (both in 2015).
The telling haul of 6-24 was not the best of his ODI career. A superb 7-45 against the West Indies at Basseterre in 2016 is his best.
‘It’s always special to have a hat-trick in your pocket. It just happened, and to be honest, I didn’t even know – the umpire told me that I got a hat-trick. I was just happy that I got the third wicket,’ said Tahir.
‘I am very, very happy. I think I did mention before that wherever I can help the team, that’s the main thing for me.
‘But in terms of my personal performance, I am really pleased with the way it came out. I am just happy that I got six wickets for my team.’
The performance was not enough to earn the Man of the Match award, which went to fast bowler Dale Steyn, who struck a maiden ODI half-century and snared two key wickets. Tahir’s showing, however, certainly showcased a host of variations – including a string of googlies.
‘It’s really pleasing. As I said, I have been working really hard from a fitness point of view and on my bowling, and I am just really pleased that they came out the way I wanted them to,’ he added.
The hosts have an unassailable two-nil lead in the three-match series. The final ODI will be played at Boland Park in Paarl on Saturday. Three T20Is will follow.