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History was made on Tuesday night in Centurion when Alfonso Thomas took his 211th T20 wicket.
Not only was it the wicket that wrapped up victory for the Titans over the Lions, but it also made the 36 year-old the leading T20 wicket taker of all time.
Thomas leapfrogged fellow T20 veteran Dirk Nannes and leads a list that includes top international T20 stars such as Lasith Malinga, Shahid Afridi and Albie Morkel.
“It is a surreal feeling at the moment. I just cannot believe that a guy like me has reached this accolade,” said Thomas.
His impressive haul of 211 wickets in 179 T20 matches has come while playing across the globe for teams such as the Adelaide Strikers, Dhaka Gladiators, Pune Warriors and local teams such as the Dolphins and the Titans.
While playing in this season’s Bangladesh Premier League for the Gladiators, Thomas finished the tournament’s top wicket taker with 20 scalps from 12 matches.
“Unfortunately I do not play international cricket so playing in Australia, India and Bangladesh is the pinnacle of my career,” said Thomas. “It’s a good feeling to have this title next to my name.”
The Cape Town-born bowler added that he had been aware that he was close to the record yet did not pay much attention to it till after the match.
“When I was playing in Bangladesh I got my 200th wicket and the stats guy there told me that Dirk Nannes was on 210, so I knew that I was close.”
Thomas’ career began in the Western Province before he headed to the North-West where he earned a contract with the Titans.
He received a chance to play for South Africa in 2007 – when he was called up for a T20 match against Pakistan – and it would be his only cap for his country despite finishing with top figures of 3/25.
Over the years Thomas has established himself as one of the country’s top death bowlers and he proved it yet again with a last over that saw him claim two wickets for only three runs.
“Death bowling is something that I have always liked to do. I prefer having the ball in my hand at that time rather than standing on the boundary just waiting for the ball to come to you.”
Reaching the age of 36 has not slowed Thomas and he feels that he can continue playing at the highest level.
“I see myself still playing for another two or three years, I just have to stay fit. I have a lot of experience and when I am done I would love to pass that knowledge on.”
Meanwhile, Cobras skipper Justin Ontong, insists that his team is still optimistic heading into the final matches, despite sitting bottom of the log.
“We are still very positive about making the play-offs. We stand a small chance of making it. But we need to win our last two games with bonus points and we need the Knights to lose their last games.
“If we play as a team we can do it but we need to stay positive.” – Cape Argus