After producing a match-winning performance against Pakistan, Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza on Thursday credited Australian great Ricky Ponting for giving him the “little push”, which inspired him to come up with a brilliant performance at the T20 World Cup.
A spirited Zimbabwe team held its nerves to beat Pakistan by one run in a thrilling ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 Super 12 match that went down to the very last delivery at Perth Stadium.
The 36-year-old all-rounder played a key role in his Zimbabwe win as he took three wickets for 25 runs from his quota of four overs.
“I know there was a small clip that was sent to me this morning and it was Ricky Ponting having a small word. I was excited. I was nervous. I was thrilled about today. Motivation was always there, but if I needed that little push, I thought that clip did a wonder this morning. So thank you very much to Ricky as well,” Raza said at the post-match presentation.
After his team’s win, Raza was so emotional and was at a loss of words.
“I am lost for words, my mouth’s dry probably because of the emotions I am going through at the moment. I can’t tell you how proud I’m of this bunch of boys,” he said.
“The way our seamers started at the top, was just unbelievable and the way we backed it up in the field and the way we kept believing, really lost for words,” he added.
The veteran cricketer, jokingly, also revealed that he has already earned three watches off his captain Craig Ervine, and could add three more to his name before the World Cup ends.
“When we were coming to Australia, I said to my captain, ‘if you become man of the match, pick any watch from the catalogue and I’ll buy it for you, but if I become man of the match, you’re going to buy me one’,” Raza said, explaining why he demonstrated to his wrist when he named Player of the Match on Thursday.
“I was just reminding him that he now owes me three watches,” he added.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe captain Ervine called the win against Pakistan as a special one.
“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,” he said.
“We did that exceptionally well today. I thought after our batting performance, we thought that we were maybe 20 or 25 short. But our seamers hit their straps early on and there was just a little bit more in the wicket compared to when we started off,” he added.
Talking about Raza, the skipper said, “He came to the party as he always does and picked up a few crucial wickets in the middle there. I think he’s got three Man of the Matches so I’m gonna be broke by the time we get home.”