Raza remains modest

HARARE - After his blistering innings left Afghanistan obliterated at the weekend in the second ODI, Zimbabwe opener Sikandar Raza Butt has remained modest despite his current run scoring form.

Raza blasted an aggressive 133-ball 141 as Zimbabwe won the match eight wickets to move into an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. 

It was the 28-year-old’s maiden ODI century and it was laced with seven sixes and 11 fours and completed overshadowed the landmark reached by 17-year-old Afghan opener Usman Ghani, who also scored his maiden limited overs century.

In the first ODI play at Queens on Wednesday, Raza finished unbeaten on 42 runs after he had earlier retired hurt in the earlier stages of his innings.

The Pakistan-born batsman gathered enough courage to return to the crease to spearhead Zimbabwe to a six-wicket victory over the visitors.

It is clear that Raza is Zimbabwe’s in form batsman during this series and is certainly justifying his inclusion as part of the 15 cricketers recently handed central contracts by Zimbabwe Cricket.

Raza, who was scoring runs for fun his domestic franchise Mashonaland Eagles, says his rich vein of form is not motivated by this development.

“It’s got nothing to do with central contracts,” Raza told the Daily News.

“I’m competing against myself and no one else. I think it’s all about maturity and constant cricket as I was recently overseas playing for AYR Cricket Club in Scotland and that helps.

“I think as there’s also tomorrow and a day after, I will keep on trying my level best. I feel humbled but most importantly I’m happy that I have proved a point against myself that I can play this game and hope to continue doing so.”

The ODI series continues today with the third match at Queens this morning and Zimbabwe will be hoping that Raza will continue with his fine form to wrap up this series.

Zimbabwe is using the Afghanistan series to prepare for next month’s incoming tour by South Africa while Australia will join the two later for a triangular series.

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