Superb Raza as Chevs hit back

Cricket Sport

SIKANDAR Raza, fresh from his recent holy visit to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, delivered a jaw-breaking performance with bat as his unbeaten and whirlwind 35-ball 82 runs saw Zimbabwe beat Namibia by five wickets in the second Twenty20 International match in Windhoek yesterday.

 

Starring down the barrel, and under siege from the ravaging home side, the Chevrons were within one match of losing the five-match bilateral series had they lost the second match yesterday.

Namibia, who won the first match on Tuesday, looked like cruising to their second victory when setting an imposing target of 198/3 in their alloted overs.

 

Things started badly for the visitors who were two wickets down early, losing opener Nick Welch for 25 and captain Craig Ervine for 10 to leave Zimbabwe exposed on 56/2 after 8.5 overs.

Innocent Kaia departed for 37 runs and Ryan Burl for seven to leave Zimbabwe teetering on 112/4 with Wessly Madhevere falling for 23 runs soon after.

 

At 167/5 after 17.3 overs, Zimbabwe needing 32 runs to win from 15 balls, Raza, who recently visited Mecca, came to the rescue, as he has often done, to pull the team over the line in stunning fashion by hitting the boundary with the last ball of the match.

Clive Madande was also not out on five runs.

 

Mecca is the holy City of Saudi Arabia, which every adult Muslim must visit at least once in his or her lifetime.

Before he left for Mecca, Raza washed clean and spotless proffered to pray for everyone, the Chevrons included.

“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 for over the years and this time to return the prayers,” posted Raza on his Facebook page.

“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 respond after succumbing to a seven-wicket defeat in the series opener on Tuesday.

After a good night sleep, albeit after the defeat, hopes were high that the locals would fight back and level the series one-all.

Namibian top order batters looked like they had done all the damage as they reached an imposing 198/3 in their alloted overs.

Openers Michael van Lingen and Nikolaas Davin, the first match hero, scored half century apiece, with 67 and 60 runs respectively while their captain, Gerhard Erasmus and JJ Smit added 38 and an unbeaten 11-ball 25 runs, respectively.

Tendai Chatara picked a wicket for 31 runs in four overs while Ryan Burl got one for 30 runs in three overs.

Apart from spinner, Ainsley Ndlovu who went for 27 runs for no wicket in his four-over spell, it was nightmare for the rest of the bowlers who averaged at least 10 runs an over.

Raza conceded 38 in three overs going at 12.66, Carl Mumba with 48 runs from four overs and Luke Jongwe 12 in one averaged 12 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