Sydney: South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who was adjudged Man-of-the-Match for his superlative performance against Sri Lanka in the first cricket World Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday, said he feels it is time to pay back his country which has given him everything in life.
"I've got everything from South Africa, so I always say I have to give everything back. I just try to do my role, it's an absolute honour and I'm loving it,” Tahir said at the post-match presentation ceremony at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
The crafty leg-spinner mixed his deliveries well and foxed the Sri Lankan batsmen as he picked up figures of 4/26 from 8.2 overs.
It all started as he held onto a return catch from Lahiru Thirimanne (41). He then saw the back of veteran middle order bat Mahela Jayawardene (4), Thisara Perera (0) and Lasith Malinga (3) as the Proteas bundled the Asian islanders for a paltry 133.
South Africa chased the total down with nine wickets and 192 balls to spare.
An ecstatic Tahir has taken his tally to 15 wickets in this year's edition, one behind Australia seamer Mitchell Starc.
Tahir further said that it was a dream come true for him playing alongside some of the best in world cricket.
“There's some good and great players (in the team), just playing with them is a dream come true for me. It's a great feeling and motivates me every day,” he said.
Speaking on a possible clash against New Zealand in the semifinals, the 35-year-old said: ”We've been working hard as a team and we hope to have two more good games, it will depend how we play on the day.”
South Africa will now face the winner between New Zealand and the West Indies.