"The world champions will play like world champions so…" – Sikandar Raza fears India despite stunning first T20I win

Sikandar Raza

Captain Sikandar Raza led from the front as Zimbabwe stunned India by 13 runs in the first T20I on Saturday (July 6) at the Harare Sports Club.

Zimbabwe, who batted first, found themselves between a rock and a hard place and finished their innings at a modest 115/9. While the likes of Brian Bennett (22), Wessly Madhevere (21) and Dion Myers (23) made starts, they failed to convert their scores into big scores as Zimbabwe kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

At one stage, they were tottering at 90 for 9 and even the 100-run mark looked difficult for them. However, wicketkeeper-batsman Clive Madande struck a crucial knock of 29 runs to take his team to a respectable total of 115. For India, leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi shined with the ball, taking 4 for 13 runs in his 4 overs.

India were favourites to win the match after restricting Zimbabwe to 115. However, the Men in Blue were in for a rude surprise as Zimbabwe kept them on the back foot from the start. Brian Bennett dismissed Abhishek Sharma for a duck in the first over and thereafter, India kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

They were eventually bowled out for 102 runs with only captain Shubman Gill (31) going past the 30-run mark. For the hosts, their captain shone with the ball. Having scored 17 runs earlier in the game, Raza took 3 crucial wickets to help his team win the game. He was also adjudged Player of the Match for his performance.

I am very happy with the victory: Sikandar Raza

At the end of the match, Sikandar Raza started by expressing his joy over the memorable victory. However, he also made it clear that he and his team are not getting carried away by just one win. The Zimbabwe captain said that his team is thinking about winning the series against their favourite hosts.

“I am very happy with the win. We have to take it one game at a time. The job is not over, the series is not over. World champions will play like world champions so we have to be ready for the next match,” Sikandar Raza said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

Speaking further, the veteran all-rounder said that the wicket was not very difficult to bat on and praised the bowlers of both teams for restricting the opponents to modest totals. Raza concluded his speech by thanking the fans for their support throughout the game.

“This is not a wicket where you get bowled out for 115. Credit must go to the bowlers on both sides. Clearly, it is an indication that we need to improve our skills. I said I don’t care about the result as long as we are true to the crowd and the dressing room. We had our plans, we stuck to them and we backed our boys.

“Our receiving and running defense were amazing, but we made some mistakes, which shows there is room for improvement. We knew the fans would cheer us on and give us energy, credit to them, they helped us,” Raza said.