JOHANNESBURG: Tabraiz Shamsi has been dialled in throughout the 2017-18 T20 Challenge, whether bowling or celebrating wickets, helping to propel the Titans to a third consecutive home final in the local T20 competition.
Shamsi’s zest for the occasion has not always gone down well with some older watchers, but that enthusiasm is certainly engaging and when accompanied by results no-one can begrudge his funky celebrations.
“It’s a bit of fun ... it’s T20 cricket, not a Test match, we are entertaining the fans, they want to see something different,” the left-arm wrist spinner said about his "dialling up, one shoe off" celebration.
“It’s a bit of flair, having fun. There’s so much pressure when we play, it’s my way of staying calm and in the moment.”
The 27-year-old has claimed 16 wickets in this season’s T20 Challenge, at an average of 13.68 with an economy rate of 7.06.
In Wednesday night’s semi-final against the Warriors, he picked up 4/32, although it didn’t always go his way, with the Warriors' powerful top order taking early control of the match.
“If they got off to a flyer, we were prepared," said Shamsi. “We know they are a top-heavy batting order, with guys who can do a lot of damage."
Despite giving up five boundaries, he remained aggressive by mixing pace and spin to befuddle the Warriors.
Having conceded 15 runs in his first two overs he enjoyed almost immediate success upon switching ends, picking up the crucial wickets of Colin Ackermann and Christiaan Jonker in the 14th over, to turn the match the Titans’ way.
“It was definitely one of my best performances,” said Shamsi. “I’ve been steady this whole competition, and really happy that in the semi-final I could take some wickets.
“But it’s team effort, all the guys who’ve played throughout the comp, have done their jobs, they’ve worked hard, today was my day and it may be someone else’s day in the final.
Still dont agree with the knockout format of our #Ramslam
1st placed team shud go straight 2 the final
If more knockout games are needed 2 b played then we should follow the @CPL format
1st vs 2nd (winner goes to the final, loser plays the winner of 3rd & 4th place playoff)
“I like a lot of pressure. I’m a fiery character, I get pumped up on the field, but that’s what cricket is all about, it’s about fighting and trying to win games for your team and my passion flows out when the pressure hits.
“But I’d rather have it that way, than someone who just disappears in big moments."
Celebrations in the Titans dressing-room on Wednesday night were somewhat subdued, perhaps because their performance in the semi-final wasn’t as polished as they would have wished for or because one of the pillars in their side, Henry Davids, went down with an injury in the warm-up before the match.
Davids is understood to have damaged his meniscus, and is unlikely to play any part in Saturday's final. The Titans will likely call up one of Rivaldo Moonsamy or Tony de Zorzi for the final at SuperSport Park.
De Zorzi, a former South Africa Under-19 captain made one and nought in the two matches he has played in the competition, while Moonsamy, scored 15 in the Titans’ loss to the Dolphins in Durban last Sunday.