Background image

Throwback: When Zimbabwe's Sikandar Raza almost denies India 3-0 sweep

Sikandar Raza's valiant effort of 115-run knock almost propelled Zimbabwe to victory in the third and final ODI against India in Harare on Monday. The Men in Blue defeated them by 13 runs, completing a 3-0 series sweep.

Zimbabwe were 169 for seven, with Sean Williams (45 off 46) providing the only major contribution. It was only a matter of time before Raza and Brad Evans combined to threaten team India with their 104-run stand.

Evans scored 28 runs to lead Zimbabwe close to a lead. Raza then took on the role of the attacker in an attempt to destroy the Indian team.

Raza was batting on 23 when Kuldeep Yadav bowled him out. He followed that by hitting a boundary and a six to Deepak Chahar.

In the 39th over, Raza smashed Shardul Thakur for three boundaries, totalling 20 runs. With only three wickets, Zimbabwe needed 95 runs from the final ten overs.

Raza did not give up. He hit Deepak Chahar for a six-over cover to record his sixth ODI century. Raza smashed Avesh Khan for four and a six, bringing the total to 17 runs in the final two overs.

Avesh ruined Zimbabwe's chances before they cloud add another score. Zimbabwe's rally ended when Avesh trapped Evans in front of the stumps.

Shubman Gill's maiden international century propelled India to victory in the end.

“The way Sikandar Raza was batting in the last 10 overs, we felt he could snatch the game away,” Axar said after the match.

“But we backed our plans and did not relax till the last ball. We decided to put in our best effort till the very end. I think that benefited us a lot."

Raza’s record

Raza has 615 runs at 61.50 at a strike rate of 93.18 in ODIs, with two fifties to go with his three centuries.

His career numbers have risen dramatically, with his career average rising from 34.60 to 37.38 since the beginning of January.

Raza added an attacking dimension to his game in the shorter format in 2022, making 516 runs at 39.69 with a strike rate of 152.21.

After taking a wicket in the first two T20Is against Bangladesh, Raza recorded 65 from 26 balls and followed it up with 62 (53) in the second T20I.

Raza is ranked 11th on the MRF Tyres ICC T20I All-Rounder rankings, just two points behind Sri Lanka star Wanindu Hasaranga.

Raza’s background

Raza, who was born in the northeast Pakistani city of Sialkot, wanted to be a fighter pilot. However, he failed his eye test.

The 36-year-old was accepted to Glasgow Caledonian University, where he played semi-professional cricket.

In 2007, he made his first-class debut after moving to Zimbabwe, where his parents had lived since 2002.

Before finishing his studies and returning to full-time cricket in the 2010-11 season, he scored one half-century in nine innings. He had a more productive season, scoring 625 runs at a 41-run average.

Sikandar made his international debut for Zimbabwe in the first ODI against Bangladesh in May 2013 and became the 116th player to play for Zimbabwe in the format. Four months later, he made his Test debut against Pakistan in Harare.

By the 2015 World Cup, Sikandar had firmly established himself as a solid middle-over player and a reliable off-spinner.

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.