Rising Pune Supergiant bowler Imran Tahir needed just 10 deliveries to prove the franchises’ folly of snubbing him at the IPL auction in February.
In the clash between Rising Pune Supergiant and Mumbai Indians on Thursday, the leg-spinner set up Rising Pune Supergiant's thrilling victory by picking up three wickets in less than two overs.
The 38-year-old South African is the top-ranked bowler in both ODIs and T20Is, yet he was surprisingly overlooked by all eight franchises for the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League.
Tahir was released by Delhi Daredevils after a poor show in the IPL last year. The spinner played just four matches, picking up five wickets at an economy rate of 8.62.
It was only the unforeseen ruling-out of Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh that became Tahir’s entry ticket to the IPL this year. Rising Pune Supergiant signed the bowler for his base price of Rs 50 lakh.
Speaking after Rising Pune Supergiant’s match against Mumbai, Tahir said:
I was quite low when I went unsold in the auction, but life goes on. I came here to prove myself again and my job is to perform whenever given an opportunity. Really pleased with myself to have performed well on getting an opportunity and making the most of it.
Despite his late inclusion in the team, the leg-spinner was pressed into action early in Rising Pune Supergiant’s first IPL 10 match.
Jos Buttler and Parthiv Patel took Mumbai to 41-0 in four overs when Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steve Smith tossed the ball to Tahir, who struck with just his second delivery to dismiss the Indian international.
In his next over, Tahir removed opposition captain Rohit Sharma for three. He then sent back the dangerous Buttler for 38, who was unlucky to be given out lbw, to reduce Mumbai to 62-3 and underline his value as a wicket-taking bowler for Rising Pune Supergiant.
Imran Tahir, Rising Pune Supergiant The way the Mumbai Indians batsmen were batting, it looked like they would end up scoring 200-odd runs, but I always love such kind of challenges. I respect good batsmen but at the same time I always look to get wickets and try to break the momentum of the opposition. The three batsmen who I got out today are good against spin bowling and that’s what makes these wickets more special for me.
In the four overs that he bowled, Rising Pune Supergiant spinner gave away just 28 runs at an economy rate of 7.
Rising Pune Supergiant skipper Steve Smith went on to finish off the match with two decisive sixes in the final over and remained not out on 84 from 54 balls as his side chased down 185 with one ball.
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(With inputs from Reuters.)