Head Zimpapers Sports
SIKANDAR Raza was the hero as Zimbabwe snatched a last-ball five-wicket win over Namibia in the second of a five-match T20 International cricket series at the Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek yesterday.
Hosts Namibia won the opening match by seven wickets at the same venue on Tuesday with 38 balls to spare.
They looked set for a fourth successive win over Zimbabwe after setting a huge target of 199.
That was until Raza stole the show.
Man-of-the-match Raza scored an unbeaten 82 off 35 balls, blasting nine sixes, including two in the final over, and three fours.
In the process, Raza set a new record for the most sixes in an innings for Zimbabwe, bettering a long standing seven by retired all-rounder Elton Chigumbura.
Zimbabwe needed 24 runs off the last two overs but were restricted to just six runs in the 19th over by Jan Frylinck.
It meant they needed 18 off the final over by Tangeni Lungameni, whose previous three overs had gone for 26 runs at an average of 8.67.
However, Raza hit two successive sixes and added five more runs with Clive Madande and a wide taking Zimbabwe to 200/5 in 20 overs.
Actually Namibia still had victory in sight with one ball remaining but Raza smashed Lungameni for four off the final ball.
The 398 runs scored in the match became the highest match aggregate for a T20 international involving Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Zimbabwe had made their innings very difficult by starting slowly in their response.
While Namibia reached 50/0 in just four overs and were 79/0 at the end of the powerplay, Zimbabwe had managed just 35 runs for one wicket after the powerplay and needed 8.2 overs to reach 50.
Nick Welch was retained as opener despite the golden duck on debut and he made 25 off 19 balls while fellow opener Innocent Kaia made 37 from 30 balls.
Wessly Madhevere made 23 in 12 balls at number six but victory was achieved on Raza’s aggressive knock as he finished with a strike rate of 234, the highest of both innings.