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Sikandar Raza in possession of T20I milestone far from Virat Kohli and Babar Azam's reach

When it comes to the shortest format, Sikandar Raza is becoming an all-time great all-rounder with his stellar performances. T20 is the format where consistency is least expected given the attacking cricket players play but Raza has been supremely consistent for Zimbabwe over the last year or so.

Written By: Aditya Kukalyekar @adikukalyekar New Delhi Updated on: January 16, 2024 13:45 IST
Sikandar Raza
Image Source : PTI Sikandar Raza

Consistency is a massive word associated with players in cricket but shorter the format the least you can expect it. In T20 format, given the amount of risks a batter has to take, it is extremely tough to be consistent for more than a couple of matches. But Zimbabwe's T20I skipper Sikandar Raza has made it possible redefining the meaning of consistency.

The man became the only player in men's cricket to score five consecutive fifty-plus scores in T20Is in the first T20I against Sri Lanka. He went past the likes of Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle and Reeza Hendricks who all had registered four consecutive fifties in the format. But then Raza is an all-rounder and he has achieved a feat which players can only dream of.

Yes, the Chevrons captain has now picked up at least two wickets and scored 50+ runs in last five T20Is which no player has ever done in the shortest format. This is a unique distinction and to be consistent with both bat and ball for five or more back to back matches is mindboggling.

Sikandar Raza's performance in last five T20Is

Opposition Performance
Rwanda 58 (36) & 3/3 (2.4)
Nigeria 2/13 (3) & 65 (37)
Kenya 82 (48) & 2/21 (4)
Ireland 3/28 (4) & 65 (42)
Sri Lanka 62 (42) & 3/13 (4)

But unfortunately, his performances are not getting justice with his team not winning enough. Top three performances in the aforementioned table came in the T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier and even then, Zimbabwe couldn't make it to the mega event. Even in the previous outing against Sri Lanka, Raza propelled his side to 143 runs in their 20 overs on a tough pitch to bat. He then picked 3 wickets for just 13 runs in his four overs to reduce the hosts to 83/6 in 14 overs but even then, Zimbabwe ended up losing the match on the last ball.

After the match, he expressed his disappointment highlighting the plight of Zimbabwe cricket in recent times especially in crunch situations. But then the captain also showed trust in his boys to turn things around. "This has been the story of Zimbabwean cricket for some time now. Unfortunately we have come out second best today, but I'm still very confident that these are the boys that will change the fortunes of Zimbabwean cricket. We felt 145 was a decent score, credit to Sri Lanka for putting us under pressure and scoring 34 in the last 3 overs. My personal enjoyment will only come when we win, there is no enjoyment until we turn the ship around," Raza said after the match.

The second T20I between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe is set to be played on January 16 (Tuesday) in Colombo and Sikandar Raza will once again set out on a mission to take his team to victory with his all-round show. But will his team support him enough to get over the winning line? Well, that remains to be seen!!

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