Veteran Zimbabwe cricketer Sikandar Raza hit his fifth ODI century and almost pulled off a heist against India in the third ODI in Harare, on Monday. However, Raza’s valiant effort went in vain as Zimbabwe fell 13 runs short of India’s total of 289.
Sikandar Raza has continued his splendid form – he had struck two centuries earlier this month against Bangladesh, carving a memorable series win for Zimbabwe.
Sikandar Raza gave India a great fight
Chasing 290, the hosts found themselves all but out of the game when they were reeling at 169-7 in the 36th over; Raza left with only the tail to bat with. Bat and smash he did. Raza opened up his arms, batted with cheerful freedom and fighting courage which als rubbed onto his batting partner, Brad Evans, as the pair put up 104 runs in 77 balls.
Evans got out in the 48th over, but it was Raza’s dismissal in the 49th over – caught at long-on spectacularly Shubman Gill – that effectively sealed the game for India.
Sikandar Raza scored 115 runs in 95 balls, walloping 9 fours and 3 sixes in what became a really entertaining and gripping innings. But, alas, he fell short of taking his team over the line. Nonetheless, this magnificient batting display got a standing ovation from the Harare crowd, and from the fans on Twitter.
Netizens cheered and hailed Sikandar Raza for his sensational knock in the 3rd ODI:
Hundred for Sikandar Raza. He has been a chasing machine for Zimbabwe lately.
— Shivani Shukla (@iShivani_Shukla) August 22, 2022
Sikander Raza, you’re playing an innings for the ages #ZIMvIND
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) August 22, 2022
Sikandar Raza has scored 3 hundreds while chasing in the last 6 ODI’s – What a player.
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) August 22, 2022
Played, Sikandar Raza
— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsIPL) August 22, 2022
another brilliant hundred from Sikandar Raza.
He has scored 3 hundreds while chasing in the last 6 ODI’s – What a player.#ZIMvIND pic.twitter.com/WIF85ndSE7
— Muhammad Areeb Uddin Sheikh. #AreebCricketWorld (@areeb_7official) August 22, 2022
Taking nothing away from Sikandar Raza….this is a brilliant innings.
— Srinivas R (@srini_r_twit) August 22, 2022
What a century for SIKANDAR RAZA , he is playing the innings of his life – can he do it for Zimbabwe ? pic.twitter.com/ze85uIKti9
— Asad Abdullah (@asad_qureshi257) August 22, 2022
Hundred by Sikandar Raza in just 87 balls – what an innings this has been by Raza, unbelievable year for him. One of the finest of Zimbabwe cricket! pic.twitter.com/cVKEynZygE
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) August 22, 2022
I won’t mind if Sikandar Raza wins it for Zimbabwe from here. Would be a crazy finish. #ZIMvIND
— Silly Point (@FarziCricketer) August 22, 2022
3rd in 6 ODIs. Yaha ke hum ‘Sikandar’#ZIMvIND
— Jigar Mehta (@jigsactin) August 22, 2022
Winning hearts Sikandar Raza @SRazaB24 #INDvZIM
— Vikrant Gupta (@vikrantgupta73) August 22, 2022
Really happy for Sikandar Raza here. His runs against Bangladesh would have been reduced to no or very little value had he not scored anything of note against India. This innings will really help Raza’s reputation.
— Gurkirat Singh Gill (@gurkiratsgill) August 22, 2022
Zimbabwe captain Regis Chakabva took a lot of heart and positive from this game, and lauded Sikandar Raza for his giant effort.
“Raza and Brad gave a good fight, but India held their nerves. Huge positives from the bowling. The boys fought hard in the field. We came back strongly from a tough situation. Raza was outstanding once again. We definitely take a lot of positives from today,” Chakabva said.
Shubman Gill dedicates his Man of the Match award to his father
India’s centurion of the day, Shubman Gill, whose 130 off 97 balls ended up on the winning side, was elated. Bagging the Man of the Match award, Gill said: “I was just trying to minimise my dot ball percentage. I tried to hit the gaps as much as possible. When I went in, there were a couple of bowlers bowling good. It was crucial to get through that. Once we were settled, we knew we could attack. The bat was pretty good. That’s why I changed it after my 50, I wanted to save it.
“Definitely special (on hitting his maiden international ton). (Playing in this team) It feels great, great bunch of players. Feels good when you are with the same bunch. My father has been my primary coach. I got a schooling after I got out in the second ODI, so I dedicate this to him.”