Sikandar Raza recorded a sensational hat-trick to help Zimbabwe beat Rwanda in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Africa Region Qualifier 2023 on Sunday, November 27. Raza displayed his all-round skills by smashing a quick fifty and claimed the Player of the Match award as well.
After shocking defeats against Namibia and Uganda, Zimbabwe were seeking a much-needed win to keep their T20 World Cup 2024 qualification hopes alive. Once against, the newly appointed captain rose to the occasion with a sensational performance to thrash Rwanda by 144 runs at Windhoek's Wanderers Cricket Ground.
The 37-year-old legend lost the toss and was forced to bat first in their fourth qualifier game. Raza opened an innings with Tadiwanashe Marumani and the duo pulled off 99 runs for the opening wicket in just 63 balls. Marumani scored 50 runs while Raza top-scored with 58 runs off 36 balls. Ryan Burl played a cameo knock by smashing 44* runs off 21 balls as Zimbabwe scored 215 runs after losing four wickets.
Rwanda were no match to Zimbabwe's improved-blowing attack with Richard Ngarava dismissing opener Oscar Manishimwe on the first ball of the innings. Zimbabwe bowlers dominated the game with Raza rounding off the victory with three wickets on three consecutive balls in the 19th over.
Raza took three wickets while conceding just three runs to bowl out Rwanada on just 71 runs. Raza's all-round heroics helped him claim the Player of the Match award and it was his sixth title in international cricket in 2023. Raza equalled legendary Indian batter Virat Kohli's record of six POTM awards in 2023 with a remarkable level of consistency in white-ball cricket.
The legendary all-rounder can break Kohli's record with Zimbabwe playing two more games in the qualifiers this month and have a six-match white-ball series scheduled against Ireland at home next month.