Imran Tahir has been a sensation for South Africa in the last couple of seasons. He has been their ultimate match-winner and ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash against Bangladesh at The Oval, the 40-year-old added one more feather to his impressive career. Tahir became only the second full-time South Africa spinner to play 100 ODIs and it is a testament to his longevity that South Africa find him one of the best bowlers in their team. The South Africa legspinner is only the second spinner ever from the country to play 100 ODIs. Nicky Boje has played 113 ODIs but in terms of wickets, Tahir is the leading wicket-taker for South Africa in ODIs, managing 164 wickets. Although JP Duminy has played 195 ODIs and bowls offspin, he is only a part-time spinner who has achieved occasional success.
Tahir holds plenty of records for South Africa. He has the 11th best ODI bowling figures with 7/45 against West Indies in St Kitts during the 2016 tri-series involving Australia as well. As a spinner, Tahir holds the fourth-best bowling figures in ODIs behind Shahid Afridi of Pakistan, Rashid Khan of Afghanistan and Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka. Tahir is the only South Africa spinner to take a five-wicket haul in the World Cup when he took 5/45 against West Indies in the clash in Sydney in 2015. In that match, AB de Villiers blasted the fastest 150 in ODI cricket.
Tahir is also one of the few South African bowlers to take a hat-trick in ODIs. In the 2018 clash against Zimbabwe in Bloemfontein, Tahir took the wickets of Sean Williams, Peter Moor and Brandon Mavuta during his haul of 6/24. Tahir joined Charl Langeveldt, Kagiso Rabada and JP Duminy to have taken the hat-trick in ODIs. Duminy is the only South Africa bowler to have taken a hat-trick in the World Cup when he took three quick wickets against Sri Lanka in the quarterfinal encounter in Sydney.Â
In South Africa's opening game against England at the Kennington Oval, Tahir was the star and he created history by becoming the first spinner ever to open the bowling in the tournament. He immediately accounted for Jonny Bairstow with his second ball and got the big wicket of England skipper Eoin Morgan but South Africa still lost the match by 104 runs. The Proteas will be hoping to see some magic from Tahir in their crucial match against Bangladesh as they look to bounce back from defeat in their opening game.