Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
17 Feb 2017
11:10 am

Imran Tahir bowls it on a string as Proteas thrash Black Caps

Heinz Schenk

South Africa's wily leg-spinner shows why he's the best in the world after the batters set up a great platform for him in Auckland.

Imran Tahir let his deeds do the talking in Auckland on Friday. Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images.

Imran Tahir earlier this week downplayed being the top-ranked bowler in international limited overs cricket.

It’s now clear why he does so – he let’s his bowling do the talking.

The Proteas leg-spinner was irresistible on Friday as his magnificent haul of 5/24 led his side to a comprehensive win by 78 runs over New Zealand in the only T20 of the tour.

It’s his best bowling figures in the format and the third-best for the Proteas.

On a pitch where South Africa hammered an excellent 185/6, Tahir at times looked unplayable as he adapted to a shorter length and gained a surprising amount of turn.

Perhaps his best delivery was the one that dismissed Tom Bruce (33), who was the home side’s only batter to prosper.

Tahir held his googly back and found enough turn for the ball to creep through bat and pad.

It was truly a work of art.

But the veteran tweaker did receive some good support.

Chris Morris, who this week said he’s been working on his consistency, played the role of strike bowler brilliantly.

The lanky quick bowled full and straight in nipping out the first two wickets.

Thereafter, Andile Phehlukwayo varied his lengths well to take a well-deserved haul of 3/19 as the Black Caps were left in tatters.

Earlier, Hashim Amla rode his luck before playing a typically classy innings.

His 43-ball 62, a knock that included nine fours and a six, headlined the visitors’ effort after the immaculate Trent Boult, who finished with 2/8 in his four overs, had them in early trouble.

Amla was well-supported by Faf du Plessis (36 off 25) as well as AB de Villiers (26 off 17).

That said, it still feels as if De Villiers – the Proteas’ best batter – is still due a big score following his recent return from injury.

The Proteas ever so slightly lost their way in the latter stages of their innings but JP Duminy provided some impetus with a sprightly 29.

Wayne Parnell’s boundary off the last ball also added some gloss to a fine day with the bat.

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