Raza reaches another milestone

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ALL-ROUNDER Sikandar Raza will play in his 100th ODI when Zimbabwe take on hosts Bangladesh in the third and final dead rubber encounter in Sylhet tomorrow.

The 33-year-old Punjab-born cricketer played his 99th ODI scoring 66 runs of 57 deliveries as the tourists came close to taming the Tigers in their backyard before going down by four runs on Tuesday.

Emerging all-rounder Donald Tiripano was however, the star of the show for the Chevrons with a 28-ball 55 albeit in defeat.

Youthful batsmen Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Wesley Madhevere lit up the stadium with respective half centuries while Tino Mutombodzi weighed in with a handy 21-ball 34 at middle order.

Raza has notched up 2 740 runs in 95 innings of his 99 matches, a highest score of 141 runs with three centuries and 15 half tons at an average of 34.25. He has managed 59 ODI wickets in 73 innings with a best bowling performance of 3-21.

Former captain Brendan Taylor has played the most ODIs in the current national team setup – 195 games – with 10 tons and 38 half centuries followed by Test skipper Sean Williams, who has 132 ODIs under his belt, with three hundreds and 31 half centuries.

Meanwhile, last week Raza also reached another milestone becoming the fourth fastest Zimbabwean batsman to 1 000 Test runs in just 15 matches.

He follows in the footsteps of ex-national team trio made up of batting greats Dave Houghton, Murray Goodwin and Andy Flower during the one-off Test match that ended in the locals’ innings defeat.

“It’s humbling to be honest and I am delighted to get there that quick considering we hardly play this format,” Raza told the Daily News.

“More importantly, getting there as an all-rounder is also very pleasing and humbling…I guess it is (more than just a milestone) as I don’t see myself in the class of Dave and Andy and others to be honest.

“I guess (I’m) just lucky and blessed to get there and be in the class of some of the greats Zimbabwe has produced. There has been no secret I guess (behind his success)…I guess will you learn and get better and to work hard every day is the only way.”

The Test defeat to the Tigers was Raza’s biggest regret.

“It certainly was dampening. We just didn’t bat and bowl as well as we should have or capable of but credit to Bangladesh that they did both very well,” he said.

“There’s always positive(s) and we take those in ODI and T20s. I can always get better and we can always get better and that hunger must never die.”

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