Pravin Tambe once again proved that age was just a number in sports. The stocky leg-spinner, pushing 43, struck a purple patch by grabbing 2014 Indian Premier League's first hattrick at Ahmedabad's Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera. Tambe's 3 for 26 off four overs scripted Rajasthan Royals' 10-run win against Kolkata Knight Riders. He was rightfully adjudged the Man of the Match. (Match Report | Scorecard | Highlights)
The Mumbai-born Tambe is now a Rajasthan Royals veteran. Successive captains have kept their faith on the rather unheralded all-rounder, who has played just two first-class games for Mumbai in the 2013-2014 domestic season. Tambe is now IPL 2014's highest wicket-taker with 12 scalps and justified his selection in the Royals' XI on Monday. Tambe overtook KKR's Sunil Narine, who has 11 wickets. Chennai Super Kings' Mohit Sharma also has 11 wickets.
"Rajasthan Royals have given me a lot of confidence in my life. This hattrick is a first in my career," Tambe said while he proudly collected his Purple Cap from TV commentator Harsha Bhogle. When he trapped Ryan Ten Doeschate LBW to complete his hattrick, Tambe broke into a child-like celebration with his teammates. (Tambe Claims first Hattrick of IPL 2014)
You were celebrating like a 18-year-old, said Bhogle. A confident Tambe replied: "At this level, you have to compete (with younger players). I never think of age. I just keep playing."
Kolkata lost six wickets in a space of two runs and the man who wrecked KKR's back was Tambe. "It is a hard pill to swallow," a dejected Gautam Gambhir, KKR captain, said.