I’m pleased that all my hard work paid off, says Imran Tahir after quarters success
Imran Tahir and his eccentric celebrations were on display in South Africa’s quarter-final win against Sri Lanka on Wednesday. (Source: AP)
South Africa stormed into the semi-final of the World Cup and nobody was more pleased than their Pakistan-born spinner Imran Tahir who conjured up a special performance for his adopted country on Wednesday. (Full Coverage| Points table| Fixtures)
Tahir, who turns 36 later this month, claimed 4-26 to mow down Sri Lanka’s middle order in the quarter-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
In an otherwise pace-heavy attack, Tahir and JP Duminy shared seven wickets between them to help skittle out Sri Lanka for 133 and the Proteas romped home in 18 overs for a comprehensive nine-wicket victory.
“I got everything from South Africa. I always feel I have to pay the country back,” the journeyman leg-spinner said after collecting his man-of-the-match trophy.
“I’m just really pleased and honoured to be part of this team, playing with some great players. I’m just trying to do my role really. It’s an absolute honour and I’m really loving it.
“I really don’t know what to say. I’m pleased that all my hard work paid off today, what I was thinking about this game and stuff. So yeah, really glad.”
The 15 wickets he has taken in the tournament has made him the most successful South African bowler in the tournament.
It also meant his post-wicket celebration of running onto the outfield with outstretched arms has become quite a frequent sight these days.
Tahir denied he rehearsed it.
“I don’t practise for that… that’s how I play my cricket,” he told the post-match news conference.
“I played a club game in Stoke and I took a very good catch, and I think I ran out of the ground, so they had to always tell me which way is back to the ground.
“I was on the road, I don’t know where I was. It’s a true story. I’m just not trying to make it up,” he added.
South Africa captain AB de Villiers lauded the spinners for the way they bowled against Sri Lanka, one of the better batting sides against spin bowling.
“They came in a really crucial stage. We bowled seams first 14-15 overs. Most teams introduce spin before then, especially teams that don’t have that fifth bowler option in a front line bowler,” de Villiers said.
“We always knew JP was going to have to bowl probably 10 (overs). So for two of them to come on against a subcontinent team in a crucial stage and really perform like that gives a lot of confidence to our spin attack going into rest of the games.”
His counterpart Angelo Mathews called it Sri Lanka’s worst World Cup performance.
“There were no demons in the track. We could have batted well and get to at least 250 and give our bowlers a chance,” he said.
“I don’t know. Maybe the nerves, did not go for out shots maybe. Easily the worst performance in World Cup. It happened to be in the quarter-finals.”
Source:: Indian Express