Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza celebrates after picking up a Pakistan wicket© AFP
Zimbabwe sent shockwaves in the global cricket community by defeating Asian giants Pakistan by a solitary run in the Super 12 stage of the ICC T20 World Cup on Thursday. The win was a result of Zimbabwe’s dogged approach as its bowlers defended a below par total of 130 runs. Pakistani players and fans were crestfallen as they know that the defeat has put a huge dent on their hopes of reaching the semi-finals. For Zimbabwe the star of the show was their consistent performer Sikandar Raza, who produced a match winning performance with the ball.
Raza, often the hero with the bat for Zimbabwe, picked up three crucial wickets that broke the back of Pakistan’s middle-order and eventually resulted in the team’s win.
Speaking after being adjudged the ‘Player of the match’, Raza thanked former Australia captain Ricky Ponting for his words of appreciation in a video posted by the ICC, which he said gave him extra motivation ahead of the match.
“I know there was a small clip that was sent to me this morning and it was Ricky Ponting having a small word,” Raza said after Zimbabwe’s win. “I was excited. I was nervous. I was thrilled about today. Motivation was always there, but if I needed that little push, I thought that clip did a wonder this morning. So thank you very much to Ricky as well.
“..some of my friends and family members messaged and they said they had a kind of tear in the eye,” Raza said at the press conference after the match. “For me, I had goosebumps, one of the greats of this game talking about Zimbabwe and in particular me.
“Not that I needed an extra kick, but if I needed that, that clip did the job for me. I wanted to stay calm, but at the same time be pumped up for this game.”
Zimbabwe now have a realistic chance of progressing to the semi-finals if they win matches against Netherlands and Bangladesh. They received a lucky point when their match against South Africa was abandoned due to rain, with the Proteas just a few runs away from the sealing a win.
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