Chevrons win. . . Raza wins 7th player of the match award Sikandar Raza

Brandon Moyo, [email protected]

SIKANDAR Raza continues with his impressive run in international cricket which has seen him break records and surpass some of the best cricketers.

In just 23 matches played this year, The Chevrons star all-rounder has managed to win seven Player of the Match awards with the latest coming in a T20 World Cup Qualifier Africa finals match against Nigeria yesterday in Windhoek, Namibia.

After claiming his seventh accolade in a game where he put in a brilliant all round performance to help Zimbabwe beat Nigeria by six wickets and keep their slim hopes of qualifying for the World Cup alive, Raza made history.

The Chevrons’ T20 skipper now holds the most Player of the Match awards in 2023, surpassing Indian great, Virat Kohli who has six accolades in 34 matches. Raza also has one player of the series award while Kohli, who is regarded as the king of cricket, has two.

Zimbabwe needed to win to keep their hopes of qualifying for next year’s T20 World Cup alive and it was Raza who delivered a brilliant performance with both bat and ball to help see the team through.

After they were sent in to field first by Nigeria, Zimbabwe restricted their opponents to 110/8 in 20 overs before going on to chase down the target in 14 overs, finishing on 111/4. The Chevrons now have six points from a possible 10.

They have played five matches, won three and lost two and now find their chances of qualification hanging by a thread.

In the match’s first innings, the Chevrons struck as early as the fifth ball of the match through Richard Ngarava who bowled Nigeria’s opening batter Sulaimon Runsewe for just one run off three balls. Ngarava went on to finish with figures of 2/21 in his four overs while the skipper, Raza finished with figures of 2/13 in his three over spell.

Blessing Muzarabani, Carl Mumba and Ryan Burl all took one wicket each for the Chevrons. Ridwan Abdulkareem top scored for Nigeria with 24 runs off 31 deliveries while Isaac Danladi chipped in with 14 runs after facing 11 deliveries.

It was yet another poor start to their chase for Zimbabwean openers as Tadiwanashe Marumani had to walk back without scoring a single run after facing four balls, leaving the team on 12/1 in 2,6 overs. Raza, who opened the batting, again went on to put up a brilliant performance, scoring his second consecutive half century.

He fell for 65 runs after facing 37 balls while Sean Williams made 19 runs from 18 deliveries. Nick Welch chipped in with 13 runs from 14 deliveries and the trio was the only ones who managed to reach double figures for the Chevrons.

Joshua Asia had a good spell with the ball for Nigeria, taking two wickets for 18 runs in four overs. Chiemelie Udekwe and Akhere Isesele took one wicket each.

However, the Chevrons’ fate lies in the hands of other teams. They need to win their last match against Kenya today and hope that results from other matches also go their way.

The crunch encounter against Kenya will be played at the United Ground in the Namibia capital of Windhoek starting at 9:30 am.
Zimbabwe are competing against Kenya and Uganda for the last remaining spot to the World Cup after the hosts, Namibia, have already booked their place after winning five games on the trot. With Zimbabwe and Kenya up against each other in the last match, Uganda will be playing against Rwanda.

Namibia became the 19th team to qualify for the World Cup, leaving out only one spot up for grabs. The 2024 T20 World Cup will be the first edition to feature 20 teams and will be co-hosted by the West Indies and the United States of America (USA). – @brandon_malvin

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