Proteas

Tahir's emotional hug with Faf explained

Imran Tahir (Gallo Images)
Imran Tahir (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - When Imran Tahir had Moeen Ali removed first ball at Newlands on Friday night he nearly exploded. 

The catch was taken by Faf du Plessis at extra cover, and Tahir sprinted towards his captain before engulfing him in what is surely one of the most animated hugs ever seen on a cricket field. 

That ball meant that Tahir was on a hat-trick, and he nearly had it when he beat Chris Jordan with his next delivery as the ball somehow missed the stumps. 

Tahir's 4/21 was probably the difference between the sides at the end of the day, and he looks a far happier bowler than the one who had series figures of 2/193 in 28 overs after the first three ODIs against England. 

Du Plessis helped explain the hug after the match. 

"He definitely has the most energy in his hug," the skipper said.

"Why we get so excited ... is when plans that you work on fall into place.

"That was a big hug between me and Immy because that is exactly what we wanted to do. I said him to 'make him hit it to me at cover', and he did exactly that so it’s nice when those things work.

"His control tonight was great. He spun the ball both ways and he’s a fantastic bowler for us in T20 cricket, he has been for about two years now and he wins game for us by himself. As a captain he’s a huge weapon for us."

Tahir, known for his extravagant celebrations, was then asked what he would have done had the hat-trick come off. 

"I would have probably ended up in the crowd," he said. 

"He would have run up the mountain," Du Plessis added.

Tahir never once doubted his ability during his bad spell.

"Every player goes through situations like that but you need to be mentally strong," he said.

"I’m just grateful to be playing for such a good team with a good bunch of guys and management. I think they had the belief that I would do well and they kept me. It’s nice to see.

"I knew I would get there somehow and it was very pleasing that I played my part for the team."

The Proteas take on England in second and final T20I in Johannesburg on Sunday.

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