Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza may have been the pivotal player in his team’s shock, but earned the win over Pakistan at Thursday’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
And Raza credited an interview with Ricky Ponting on the ICC website for inspiring his brilliant display of taking three quick wickets at a pivotal moment, including two in two balls, to blast through Pakistan’s middle class.
Video T20 World Cup 27 Oct 22 01:21
Emotional Raza reveals how Ponting inspired him for Pakistan match | T20WC 2022
“I didn’t get much sleep last night, for me this game played over and over, how we were going to bat,” Raza said. “I took a few notes and read them over and over, and I said I’d stick to them. For Zimbabweans a lot is learned on the job, we don’t play much against the top countries.
“When I woke up, a friend of mine messaged me saying ‘hey did you see a clip on the ICC page? Maybe check it out before I ruin it for you.’
“That was Ricky Ponting talking about Zimbabwe and about me in particular.”
In the clip in question, Ponting told the ICC how Raza had noticed him during Zimbabwe’s qualifying campaign and the opening rounds of the tournament.
Video T20 World Cup 27 Oct 22 04:11
Ricky Ponting on Sikandar Raza’s Rebirth | Byjus lessons | ICC Men T20WC 2022
And Raza revealed that his family was moved to tears by Ponting’s words, and that the Australian’s comments inspired him for the match in Pakistan.
“Some of my friends and relatives messaged them and they said they had some sort of tear in their eyes,” Raza said. “For me, I had goosebumps – one of the greats of the game talking about Zimbabwe and me in particular.
“Not that I need an extra kick, but if I needed one, that clip did the job for me. I wanted to stay calm, but also pumped up for this game.”
Video T20 World Cup 27 Oct 22 05:59
Spirited Zimbabwe records stunning win against Pakistan | Match Highlights | T20WC 2022
Zimbabwe records a stunning win against Pakistan to throw Group 2 wide open in the 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
In his video interview, ICC expert and Australian legend Ponting explained why he was so impressed with Raza and Zimbabwe.
“He’s 36 years old, but he plays with more youthful exuberance than that,” Ponting said in the video. “Looks like he’s 26 again, running around the field and having fun and leading from the front.
“He’s had some great years in international cricket. It seems to me that his level of maturity has gone through the roof. He gets up in pressure moments, which you have to do. When you start talking about World Cups, the names and player reputations forged by how you perform in big matches.
“He rose in qualifiers, in fact he single-handedly got Zimbabwe in first place in the World Cup, and the two matches they have won so far in this World Cup he is Man of the Match in both cases.”
Raza was thrilled by those words and rose again to put his side in position to secure a famous win, one of the biggest ever T20 World Cup results.