Chasing 304, Zimbabwe scored 62 for 3 in the 14th over. They had not beaten Bangladesh in 19 ODIs in nine years. The way Raza saved Zimbabwe from there with his 135-run knock of 109 and took them across the line, shows that he was not too impressed with the pressure.
“There is pressure to do well and win games, there is pressure. I will not lie,” Raza told ESPNcricinfo on Friday. “Of course, it helps that I’m from an Air Force background. We don’t give up. I hurt, I get bruised, broken fingers, toes, etc. I don’t care. Me personally Guess it helps to spend three and a half years in PAF college. I will always be a fighter within myself. I could not become a fighter pilot. But I think as a person, I will always be a fighter. Mentally and physically training is now paying dividends.”
“I usually go out with a blank mind,” said Raza. “I want to see the ball. It’s an ODI so I want to leave well if I can. Just play a few shots that will give me my boundary options. Otherwise, I make sure I’m in good shape. I am raised the length quite early.
“The innings was flowing. Masoom was playing brilliantly, so there was pressure on me. We hit a few boundaries and then it was just pace. The plan was to win the game but we broke it down into smaller chunks. We wanted those small goals. to receive, and take it from there.”
Raza was running fine till the 25th over when the Zimbabwe pair looked to hit the wall. He batted quietly for almost five overs, but Zimbabwe had turned a crucial corner when Raza hit Mustafizur Rahman for a six.
“I think the secret to my sixes is my cricket bat,” he explained. “I don’t do anything different than other guys. I just have really good bats.
“I look for one or two balls that give me boundaries. I make sure I time the ball well. Once I start timing the ball well, Allah has given me this Blessed with the fact that if I hit it well, I can clear the big ball. Boundaries. Once you have the confidence, and you’ve got the ball you wanted, then The same thing happens after that. There’s basically no real mystery.”
Raza also heaped praise on Kaia, who scored his maiden century in his fourth ODI. “He played an innings of reasonable quality and class. It was a special innings. We play franchise cricket together. We spend a lot of time with him. I always told him that when the opportunity comes, I know he will shine. His It was very satisfying to watch the century from the other end.”
It was a big win for Zimbabwe, especially in the format in which they have struggled recently. “It was great to break that bond. We haven’t beaten Bangladesh in nine years,” Raza said. “They were leading 19-0 on us. The win is coming at the right time. India is coming. We are going to Australia. We have the World Cup to look forward to. It’s a good time for Zimbabwe.”