CAPE TOWN – It was “only” Zimbabwe, but a hat trick is a hat trick. Yet, Proteas leg-spinner Imran Tahir says he wasn’t even aware that he had taken three wickets in a row in Bloemfontein on Wednesday night.
The 39-year-old became the fourth South African to claim a hat trick in ODI cricket – after Charl Langeveldt, JP Duminy and Kagiso Rabada – when he dismissed Sean Williams, PJ Moor and Brandon Mavuta.
Williams was stumped by Heinrich Klaasen off the last ball of the 18th over, while Moor was right in front of his stumps for an lbw decision and Mavuta was bowled through the gate with the first two balls of the 20th over.
Tahir ended with 6/24, his second-best ODI figures – he also took 7/45 against the West Indies – as South Africa cantered to a 120-run win to clinch the three-match series 2-0, with one game to play.
And it seemed as if the six-fer mattered more to the Dolphins tweaker.
“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!” Tahir told SuperSport.
“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.”
While the tricky Mangaung Oval pitch did assist him – “the wickets are a bit difficult for the batters” – the six-wicket haul was just reward for the hard work he has put in to be in peak shape in a World Cup season and being able to rip those vicious googlies, which accounted for four of the six wickets.
The other two came from a slider-type ball, with the last scalp as a result of a long-hop.
“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,” Tahir said.
The Proteas, though, will hope for a better batting performance in the final Zimbabwe ODI on Saturday at Boland Park in Paarl, after Dale Steyn (60) had to rescue their Bloemfontein innings with his first half-century in a total of 198.