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Magnificent Maharaj revels in rare hat-trick for South Africa

South African bowler Keshav Maharaj celebrates the dismissal of Pakistani batsman Azhar Ali on the first day of the second cricket Test in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, 4 February 2021. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Sohail Shahzad)
By Reuters
21 Jun 2021 1

June 21 (Reuters) - Keshav Maharaj was too excited to come up with a celebration after becoming the first South African to claim a test hat-trick in 61 years as his side completed a 2-0 series sweep against West Indies with a 158-run victory in Saint Lucia on Monday.

The left-arm spinner picked up five wickets in West Indies’ second innings but it was his hat-trick that will live long in the memory, especially as it came when the hosts were beginning to believe they could reach their 324-run victory target.

They had recovered to 107 for three after a poor start when Maharaj (5-36) claimed the scalp of the dangerous Kieran Powell (51), who tried to launch him to the midwicket boundary but picked out lone fielder Anrich Nortje.

All-rounder Jason Holder was caught by short-leg Keegan Petersen first ball, and Wiaan Mulder took an excellent diving catch low to his right at leg-slip off Joshua Da Silva to complete the hat-trick.

“Powell was looking to come at me and I just thought about putting the ball in the right area and it found Anrich on the boundary,” Maharaj told reporters.

“The second one to Jason, I was trying to bowl a straight delivery and luckily it got an inside edge.

“The hat-trick ball I had so many things going through my head as to where to put the ball. In the end I just bowled it normally and Joshua followed it down leg and full credit to Wiaan for a great catch.

“I didn’t know what to do (to celebrate), I thought about doing a slide but ended up stopping dead in my tracks. There was too much excitement and adrenalin in me.”

It was only the second test hat-trick for South Africa after seamer Geoff Griffin managed the feat against England at Lord’s in 1960.

They completed a first away test series win in four years, which comes as they start a new era under recently appointed captain Dean Elgar.

“There are a lot of positives to take out of the match, but there are also obviously a lot of things we need to work on because there is always room for improvement,” added Maharaj.

“But there is a good buzz in the change room and a sense of pride.” (Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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  • Well Done Keshav Maharaj. Well done South Africa! Well done Proteas!!! What with all the bad news in South Africa and the unnecessary rumblings in Cricket South Africa this hattrick and the series victory brighten up our day. Keep on keeping on. Very proud of your achievements.