Kanpur: Even though he was adjudged Man of the Match for his superb unbeaten knock of 104 runs against India in the first One-Day International (ODI), South Africa skipper AB de Villiers believes it was leg-spinner Imran Tahir’s 47th over that turned the game on its head at the Green Park here on Sunday.
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 after the 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 said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
"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 runs and bagged two wickets of M.S. Dhoni and Stuart Binny to seal the deal for his side. Praising his efforts, de Villiers said: “The youngster (Rabada) is proving to be a handful and he has a bright future.”
The 31--year-old also felt that 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 an rest and then move on to the next game,” concluded de Villiers.