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Superb Raza as Chevrons hit back

by Staff reporter
26 Oct 2023 at 06:43hrs | Views
Fresh from his recent pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Sikandar Raza delivered a breathtaking performance with the bat. His unbeaten and whirlwind 82 runs off just 35 balls led Zimbabwe to a five-wicket victory over Namibia in the second Twenty20 International match in Windhoek yesterday.

Zimbabwe was on the brink of losing the five-match bilateral series if they had lost the second match. Namibia, who won the first match on Tuesday, appeared to be cruising to their second victory after setting an imposing target of 198/3.

Things began poorly for the visitors, with two early wickets, including opener Nick Welch for 25 and captain Craig Ervine for 10, leaving Zimbabwe at 56/2 after 8.5 overs. Innocent Kaia scored 37 runs before departing, and Ryan Burl contributed seven, leaving Zimbabwe teetering at 112/4. Wessly Madhevere fell for 23 runs, and at 167/5 after 17.3 overs, Zimbabwe needed 32 runs to win from 15 balls. It was at this point that Raza, fresh from his visit to Mecca, came to the rescue with a brilliant performance, hitting the winning boundary with the last ball of the match.

The match-winning hero was also aided by Clive Madande, who was not out on five runs.

Mecca is the holy city in Saudi Arabia, which every adult Muslim is required to visit at least once in their lifetime.

Before his pilgrimage to Mecca, Raza expressed his intention to pray for everyone, including the Chevrons. He posted on his Facebook page: "I can't express what I'm feeling right now leaving for Umrah, and this time I will have all of you and your families in my prayers. I thank you for your prayers over the years and this time to return the prayers. Everyone who asked for prayers #alhamdulilah. I prayed for all of you and your families, and may Allah accept those prayers #inshallah."

The Chevrons were looking to bounce back after their seven-wicket defeat in the series opener on Tuesday. Namibia's top-order batters looked like they did all the damage, reaching an imposing 198/3 in their allotted overs.

Openers Michael van Lingen and Nikolaas Davin, who was the hero of the first match, both scored half-centuries, with 67 and 60 runs, respectively. Captain Gerhard Erasmus and JJ Smit contributed 38 and an unbeaten 11-ball 25 runs, respectively.

Zimbabwe's Tendai Chatara picked up one wicket for 31 runs in four overs, while Ryan Burl claimed one for 30 runs in three overs. However, the rest of the bowlers, including Ainsley Ndlovu, Sikandar Raza, Carl Mumba, and Luke Jongwe, faced difficulties, with their economy rates averaging at least 10 runs an over.

Zimbabwe squad for the second T20I

Nick Welch, Innocent Kaia, Craig Ervine (captain), Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl, Wessly Madhevere, Clive Madande (wicketkeeper), Luke Jongwe, Carl Mumba, Ainsley Ndlovu, Tendai Chatara

Source - newsday