Spin-king Tahir bows out in style

Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir
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Imran Tahir signed off his county career with the final wicket as Hampshire gave themselves a genuine chance of pulling off a miraculous escape from relegation with victory at Somerset.

Their win by an innings and 61 runs was completed in just 21 overs of the final day at Taunton.

They grabbed the final three wickets they needed to take their survival bid into the final two fixtures, having now won three of their past four matches.

Yorkshire, who are just three points ahead, are effectively relegated having played one game more than Hampshire, Worcestershire and Sussex, who are all still attempting to avoid the drop.

Hampshire, who picked up 23 points for the win, will need to make up 19 points on Worcestershire and 17 points on Sussex – but those two sides face each other this week as the Rose Bowl outfit travel to Lancashire.

But they will have to make do without the Pakistan-born spinner as he links up with his adopted country South Africa for their forthcoming series with Australia and will miss the remainder of the county season.

Tahir said: ‘It’s a nice way to finish for me.

‘It’s been a great experience playing for Hampshire since I started playing with them and I am always really grateful to them.

‘The chairman, the coach and all of the players have been like a family to me and I will miss them.

‘And I will see if there is a place for me in the future.

‘I am centrally contracted to South Africa now and Australia are coming down.

‘So I have to go back and start doing all of the things with the team.

‘I missed the first part of the camp and I will join the second part of it.

‘I need to do well in international cricket and that’s where I want to be.

‘Hopefully, I will come back with South Africa, but I won’t play any county cricket unless I’m free.

‘Hampshire haven’t said anything to me about coming back in the future so we will see.’

Somerset stand-in skipper Alfonso Thomas, who was on 79 not out overnight, fell just six runs short of his century when opposite number Jimmy Adams took the catch from Tahir’s bowling.

Murali Kartik was then sent on his way after Dimi Mascarenhas trapped him lbw before Tahir wrapped up the match as Chris Wood pouched the catch.

Tahir said: ‘We played really well from start to finish in this game.

‘We bowled well in the first innings when there was a little bit in the wicket.

‘The bowlers did really well and then the batsmen did their job.

‘Now the boys need to take it into the next two games and try to stay in the first division.’