BUFFALO PARK (92 News) – Imran Tahir ended the first Twenty20 International against Zimbabwe with a five-wicket haul, but it was telling of his ambition that he still wished he “could have got the hat-trick”.
Tahir dismissed Hamilton Masakadza (1) and Tarisai Musakanda (0) dismissed in consecutive deliveries at the beginning of the fourth over, but there was to be no hat-trick, with Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams steadying things thereafter.
However, Tahir still ended with 5/23 in four overs – his career-best figures in T20Is – and helped restrict Zimbabwe to 126 in 17.2 overs after South Africa had posted 160/6. As good a performance as it was, though, Tahir said he was just happy to contribute.
“I wish I could have got the hat-trick,” he said on Tuesday, 9 October. “(But) I am really pleased. I don't take things for granted. It came out the way I wanted it to. Till I am doing well for the team, I am happy.”
Tahir also revealed he had been practising bowling with the new ball. “I practice with the old and new balls to be more accurate,” he gave out. “I have been bowling in T20Is with the new ball. I am learning to do it in ODIs. I am a firm believer in the fact that it is never too late to learn.”
Faf du Plessis, the South Africa captain, said they were delighted with Tahir’s form, but added the management wanted him to replicate the form in one-day internationals as well.
“He's got a knack for taking wickets,” said du Plessis. “He sees the value of taking wickets upfront, like today when he got three in the first six. We want him to do the same in ODIs as well.”
Du Plessis had other reasons to be happy as well – Rassie van der Dussen, the 29-year-old making his international debut, scored a 44-ball 56 and formed the crux of two crucial partnerships for the home side.
“There was some dew and it tested us,” said du Plessis. “(But) Rassie played really well. To have that composure was great for someone playing his first game.”
Zimbabwe, however, had plenty of reasons to be disappointed, not least the fact that Peter Moor’s valiant attempt went in vain. The middle-order batsman hammered a 21-ball 44, including five humungous sixes, to give the visitors hope.
He was the last man to fall, dismissed Andile Phehlukwayo, but had he remained in the middle, Zimbabwe might have made more of a tilt at the target.
“We’re still not being able to lay a foundation,” said Masakadza, the captain. “Batting is something we definitely need to work on. Losing three in the first six was always something difficult to bounce back from.
“We Just need one game where we get all three departments right.”