Imran Tahir turned the game around, says AB de Villiers

SA skipper credits leggie's twin strikes - Rohit Sharma & Suresh Raina - in 46th over for five-run win in first ODI

Kanpur: Though he was adjudged Man of the Match for his superb unbeaten knock of 104 runs against India in the first ODI, South Africa skipper AB de Villiers felt it was leg-spinner Imran Tahir's 47th over that turned the game on its head at the Green Park here yesterday.

AB de Villiers and Imran Tahir
AB de Villiers and Imran Tahir

India were cruising at 269-3 at the end of the 46th over and looked well on course to chase down the Proteas' score of 303-5 — but then leg-spinner Tahir came in to bowl his last over.

First, he got rid of a well-settled Rohit Sharma (150) caught and bowled, and then in the fifth delivery of the over had Suresh Raina miscuing one to long-on. The Indians failed to recover from this twin jolt and lost by five runs.

"I thought it was an amazing game of cricket. Close games like these bring the fans to the game. Credit to India as well for playing well. I am very happy that we came out on top," an elated de Villiers.

"The momentum changed quite a few times today. I thought Imran Tahir's over first of all, turned the game on its head and gave us a chance when we were out of it."

India needed 11 runs off the last over but Proteas pacer Kagiso Rabada gave away only five and bagged two wickets — India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Stuart Binny — to seal the deal for his side.

Praising the pacer's effort, de Villiers said: "The youngster (Rabada) is proving to be a handful and he has a bright future."
The thirty-one-year-old De Villiers, who reached his century off the last ball of the SA innings with a big six, said it was a good win to start the 50-over five-match series.

"It's a good start to the ODI series, but the momentum can change in a matter of seconds. We just want to go and rest and then move on to the next game," concluded the SA captain.

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