Graeme Cremer-led Zimbabwe team created history on Monday after they clinched the five-match series 3-2. after chasing down a target of 204 runs with 3 wickets in hand in the fifth and final ODI at Hambantota. Sikandar Raza scripted the visitor’s win after he chipped in with 27 runs during the process. While talking to ESPNCricinfo, Raza told about the win and how important it was for their team.
“It was just 27 runs but a mate told me this was the most useful and important 27 runs of your career and ours. There was history in the making. It is an incredible feeling to be able to do that. It is difficult to describe the feeling. We just had breakfast together but it is still sinking in. No one has words to explain how we feel. It is just an amazing feeling.”
Talking about the time he came out to the middle, Raza told that he was a bit under pressure as they had lost some of the better batsmen in the line up but hailed his captain’s batting under pressure.
“It was slightly nervy because, when I walked in, Sean Williams had just gone out and he is a big player. We still needed 60-odd runs to win. [Tarisai] Musakanda got out. [Malcolm] Waller and PJ [Moor] got out quite early as well. Cremer has done it at international level. He is more than a capable batter. There wasn’t much that was said. I was breaking the chase down into small things. I was just talking about which way the ball was moving and turning to Cremer. He batted extremely well under that much pressure,” Cremer said.
Sikandar Raza was not just impressive with the bat on the occasion but he did perform really well with the ball too. The spinner bagged a total of three Sri Lankan wickets that included Mendis, Upul Tharanga and Hasaranga.
“There’s no secret. My economy has been okay the whole series. I have bowled well in patches. It is just that the wicket column had nothing in it. We were playing on a used track, we just had to find the right pace for the track. It was to bowl slightly slow and my main aim was to find some turn. The moment I do that, it would create doubt with my sliders. It started to turn, and that always helps,” he told.
Raza insisted that it was the first match that triggered and boost their morale as they managed to chase down a total of over 300 in the process.
“The guys stood up in the Netherlands, Scotland and Sri Lanka. It was lovely to see everyone making useful contributions. We always want to win, but sometimes we didn’t believe ourselves that we can win. I think the first game here – the record chase – was the start of many good things to come. The first game played a huge role in believing we can win games from any situation.”
Mentioning about the pressure that is on the batsman while chasing, Raza mentioned that it sometimes becomes a daunting task to go after a total.
“I would like to think that I want to bat better in the first innings. When you’re batting second, chasing plays a lot on your mind. It can be a difficult and daunting task. I do have a picture of where I need to be, how I break it down. I have managed to do that in the recent times, perhaps,” he added.
Raza later hailed his team’s win and went on to say that it is big achievement and they are now targeting to do good in the longest format.
“This series should give us belief, and rightly so. To beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka is something not many teams have been able to do. The next target is to play a good Test match against them as well. We know West Indies are coming to play two Tests in October, so we are looking forward to that as well.”