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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Sikander Raza stars as Zimbabwe edge Ireland by one wicket in the first T20

Story by Lawrence Trusida, Sports Editor

CHEVRONS captain, Sikander Raza led from the front as Zimbabwe scrapped through for a wicket victory over Ireland in the first T20 international played at Harare Sports Club this Thursday evening.

A match that had everything; fun, drama, great catches and wonderful shots was fittingly decided by the last bowl.

It was a historic first international match under lights at Harare Sports Club and it surely lived up to the billing.

Chevron’s captain, Sikander Raza emerged as the hero after taking three wickets and hitting his 12th half-century a record for Zimbabwe.

However, plaudits will also go to bowler, Blessing Muzarabani for holding his nerves and hitting their winning runs off the last ball.

Ireland batted first and posted 147 runs for the loss of eight.

As usual, Zimbabwe did not start their chase in the best possible fashion after losing Tadiwanashe Marumani for one and Sean Williams for four within the first three overs.

Wessly Madhevere and Sikander Raza then started a rebuilding act that was halted when the young Madhevere was bowled by George Dockrell for 24 with the score on 53.

Raza continued his fighting innings with some big hits but he was struggling for partners as wickets kept tumbling the other end.

Ireland thought they had the game won when Mark Adair had Raza caught for 65 runs in the 19th over, but the drama was far from over.

Zimbabwe went into the final over needing nine runs for victory.

Debutant Trevor Gwandu missed the first ball, before hitting three runs from the next two balls leaving the experienced Richard Ngarava on strike.

As expected, Ngarava did not waste time hitting a four before he was caught off the fifth ball of the over, leaving Zimbabwe needing two runs for victory with one ball remaining.

In came the lanky Blessing Muzarabani who was lucky to edge the ball for two runs and Harare found its voice after the Chevrons won the first T20 international by one wicket.

The two sides square off again on Saturday at the same venue with the match starting at 1 pm.

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