IPL 2019: 40-year-old Imran Tahir proudly wears the Purple Cap
Tahir has six wickets from three matches now and at an impressive average of below nine and an economy rate of 5.20.
Updated - Apr 1, 2019 7:14 pm
South Africa spinner Imran Tahir has already announced that he is going to retire from ODIs after the ICC World Cup this year. The Pakistan-born cricketer recently turned 40 but that age is just a number became evident recently when he picked two wickets, including that of Steve Smith, to help Chennai Super Kings (CSK) beat Rajasthan Royals (RR) by just eight runs to go to the top of the points table. Tahir has six wickets from three matches now and at an impressive average of below nine and an economy rate of 5.20, making him the best bowler in the tournament this year so far.
Tahir started off well this season taking three wickets for just nine runs in the opening match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and his impressive performance has put him ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal and team-mate Dwayne Bravo who have worse average and economy rates than the former. Delhi Capitals’ Kagiso Rabada and Kolkata Knight Riders’ Andre Russell follow next with five wickets each. Tahir took six wickets from as many games in the 2018 season of the IPL and he is set to better that record by far this time.
“I am feeling very good, very proud. It was there (dew); I tried to use my experience but the ball was really wet. I am very happy. It’s always nerves. First match I dropped a catch, so didn’t want to repeat the mistake. Every catch is a difficult one,” Tahir said after the match.
The other spinners in the CSK side – Ravindra Jadeja and Mitchell Santner found it hard to grip the ball in the dew but it didn’t affect the wrist-spinner Tahir’s performance.
I don’t take anything for granted
Talking about his passionate celebrations every time he takes a wicket, Tahir said: “It’s the passion and respect I have for the game. I don’t take anything for granted. Whenever I am playing, I try to contribute for my team.” CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni also praised the veteran spinner who is with the yellow jerseys since last season.
CSK had a shaky start to the game against RR at home, losing three wickets for 27. It was then Dhoni who stepped in and hammered 75 not out off 46 balls to take his side to 175 for 5 in 20 overs. It was then the home team’s bowling attack that rose to the occasion to give it a narrow win.
Apart from Tahir (2 for 23), opening bowlers Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur also took two wickets each besides Bravo. Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer made a last-ditch effort but Bravo took two wickets in the last over of the game to give CSK a fascinating victory.