Raza ‘lost for words’ after Zimbabwe flip the script
All-rounder Sikandar Raza sensationally picked up 3-25 against Pakistan on Thursday as Zimbabwe prevailed by one run in a final-ball thriller to register their first Super 12 win at the Twenty20 World Cup.
"I'm lost for words. My throat's dry, probably because of all the emotions. I can't tell you how proud I am of this bunch of boys. I don't think there's any words I can share right now.
"There was a small clip sent to me this morning of Ricky Ponting having a small word. I was excited, I was nervous, I was thrilled about today. The motivation was always there but if I needed a little push, I thought that clip did a wonder so thanks very much to Ricky as well," Raza said during post-match presentation.
Zimbabwe captain Craig Ervine said: "It's so special. Especially for the work that we did to get into the Super 12s and we didn't want our tournament to end there. We wanted to come in and play some really good cricket against some top teams and I thought we did that exceptionally well today."
Fresh off a horror last over against India that cost his side the match, Mohammed Nawaz's nightmare tournament continued when he was caught for 22 off the penultimate ball of the match off the bowling of Brad Evans (2-25), who had an 11-run cushion in the last over.
Pakistan's chase got off to a rocky start, squeezed at 36-3 in the eighth over with the world's top-ranked T20 batsman, Mohammed Rizwan, back in the dugout for 14 having chopped a delivery from two-metre tall Blessing Muzarabani (1-18) on to his stumps.
It was left to Shaan Masood to steady the ship with a composed 44, regularly exploiting the large outfield to run twos.
But Raza further pegged back the Asian side with his off-spin, having Masood stumped off a wide.
After losing the toss earlier, Pakistan's much-vaunted pace attack bowled too full in the powerplay overs, conceding 47 runs, although quick wickets to dismiss the Zimbabwe openers kept the rate in check.
Signalling a return to form after scoring one in his side's washout against South Africa on Monday, all-rounder Sean Williams (31) found the boundary three times and looked set to accelerate with the score at 95-3 and six overs remaining.
Spinner Shadab Khan (3-23) clean-bowled the left-hander before he had the chance though, triggering a collapse in which four wickets fell in six deliveries with no runs added.
Late runs from Evans (19 off 15 balls) gave the African side the lift they ultimately needed to move to third position in Group Two.
"Very disappointing performance in my team. We were not up to the mark in the batting. We had a bad first six overs, but Shadab and Shan built a partnership but unfortunately Shadab out and then back-to-back wickets and pressure built on the batting. First six overs we are not using the new ball good. Later on we finished well. We'll sit together and learn from our mistakes and come back hard next match," said Pakistan captain Babar Azam.