By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE cricket star Sikandar Raza has been shortlisted for the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award for August 2022 in recognition of his outstanding individual performances against Bangladesh and India.
Raza has enjoyed a tremendous year and the month of August was no different. Going head to head against Asian giants India and Bangladesh, Raza notched up three centuries in the month.
All three centuries came when Zimbabwe looked down and out before he came to the rescue, leading them to victory twice against Bangladesh and almost pulling off the impossible against India.
In the first ODI against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe were 62 for three, chasing 304 for the win when Raza and Innocent Kaia stitched a massive 192-run stand for the fourth wicket.
He was the aggressor of the two and batted till the end, remaining unbeaten on 135 of 109 balls as Zimbabwe scripted a memorable win over the Tigers.
In the next match, the hosts were in dire straits yet again at 49 for four chasing 292 when he once again pulled the rescue act.
This time, it was Regis Chakabva who kept him company. Once again, Raza (117* off 127 balls) batted through till the end to guide Zimbabwe to the second win in a row as Zimbabwe took an unassailable lead in the series.
He was also Zimbabwe’s star with the ball in hand and despite bowling the difficult overs in the death, ended up with figures of three for 56 in his 10 overs.
Raza almost pulled it off in the final ODI against India as well but unlike the previous occasions, found little support from the other end. Chasing 290, he was at the crease until the penultimate over. The 95-ball 115 went in vain as India held their nerve in the final stages to complete a whitewash.
The inform Pakistan-born Zimbabwean star is in the running for the coveted ICC Player of the Month award alongside England captain Ben Stokes and Mitchell Santner of New Zealand.
While Stokes made all-round contributions to help his side level the three-match Test series against South Africa, Santner made his mark for New Zealand during their limited-overs series against the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, Australian duo Tahlia McGrath and Beth Mooney have been shortlisted for ICC Player of the Month for August among women. India’s Jemimah Rodrigues, who had a brilliant Commonwealth Games with the bat in hand, was the other one who made the cut.