Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to field first in the first of the three T20Is. Ireland struggled their way through to 147-8 from their 20 overs with none of their batters reaching 40.
Raza, Zimbabwe’s captain, picked three wickets for 28 runs from his four overs and was well supported by his seamers Blessing Muzarabani (2-24) and Richard Ngarava (2-23).
Zimbabwe lost two early wickets in their run-chase. Raza came out to bat at No.4 with the score reading 21-2 from 3.5 overs. He expertly anchored the run-chase despite getting little to no support from the rest of the batters.
Along with five fours and two sixes, Raza’s knock also featured a heated exchange with the Irish. After the fifth ball of the 13th over, bowled by left-arm seamer Josh Little, Raza got into an argument with the bowler. Just as Little started going back to his mark, Curtis Campher, fielding in the in-field, joined in.
The Zimbabwe captain aggressively stepped towards Campher and made animated gestures with his bat and hand. The umpire then had to force Raza to stay back and control the situation.
Raza was eventually dismissed in the 19th over for 65 off 42 balls. He was the eighth wicket to fall. With Zimbabwe needing two off the last ball, the Irish wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker fumbled the ball behind the stumps allowing the hosts to scamper back for two byes and seal a dramatic victory.
Watch Sikandar Raza have an animated exchange with Josh Little and Curtis Campher:
— Fantasy Cricket Pro 🏏 (Viren Hemrajani) (@FantasycricPro) December 7, 2023
Subscribe to the Wisden Cricket YouTube channel for post-match analysis, player interviews, and much more.