This time, Proteas leg-spinner Imran Tahir knew he was on a hat trick against Zimbabwe – and twice in one game.
Having taken a hat trick in the second ODI in Bloemfontein last week, the 39-year-old Tahir was at it again in the first T20 international at Buffalo Park in East London on Tuesday night.
Opening the bowling with Lungi Ngidi, Tahir trapped Zimbabwean captain Hamilton Masakadza lbw with the first ball of his second over, and had Tarisai Musakanda caught off his glove by a diving Quinton de Kock.
So, the hat trick was up, but left-hander Sean Williams managed to keep it out.
Later, Tahir got his man as Williams charged down the pitch and was bowled, and then Elton Chigumbura didn’t read another googly and was out lbw.
For a second time, the hat trick didn’t happen as Tendai Chisoro survived.
But Tahir bagged another Man of the Match award after claiming 5/23.
“I am really pleased. I don’t take things for granted. Every opportunity I get for South Africa is an absolute honour, and I want to be really up for it,” Tahir told SuperSport in a post-match interview.
“It came out the way I wanted it to. I helped the team, and how captain and coach wanted me to bowl.
“Yes, I knew this time (that he was on a hat trick). I wish I could’ve got it. But look, as long as I am bowling well for the team, I am happy.”
While Tahir is renowned for cleaning up the tail, he hopes to continue grabbing wickets with the new ball.
“I have been practising a lot with the new ball in the nets, just to see if I can get more accurate if I had to get a chance to bowl with the new ball,” he said.
“I have been bowling (with the new ball) in T20s – and never had a chance to do it in the ODIs – and I am starting to do that. I am a big believer in that it’s never too late to learn, and that’s what I am trying to do.
“I am pleased everything is happening for me, but I am putting in a lot of hard work.”
The next T20 international takes place on Friday in Potchefstroom (6pm start).
* Watch Imran Tahir’s hat trick in the second ODI against Zimbabwe below...@ashfakmohamed