Sikandar Raza ton gives Zimbabwe hope
Sikandar Raza Butt´s unbeaten century hauled Zimbabwe out of trouble and gave them a fighting chance in the second one-day international against New Zealand at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday.
Raza arrived at the crease with Zimbabwe struggling on 68 for five, and hit 100 not out from 95 balls to guide the hosts to 235 for nine.
With early morning starts at Harare Sports Club, conditions generally favour the side bowling first and so it was a surprise when Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura decided to have a bat. The only two teams to do so at the venue in the past three years - Pakistan in 2013 and Australia in 2014 - both suffered shock defeats at the hands of Zimbabwe.
The decision appeared to have backfired when the hosts lost their top five inside the first 18 overs, with Grant Elliott using the swing on offer to dismiss Craig Ervine and Chigumbura, and legspinner Ish Sodhi picking up his first two wickets in ODI cricket.
Raza helped to rebuild the innings in a 60-run stand for the sixth wicket with Sean Williams, but when Williams was brilliantly run out by Martin Guptill and Zimbabwe slumped to 146 for eight, a respectable total appeared unlikely.
Yet Raza found support in Tinashe Panyangara, who made 33, and also enjoyed some fortune when he was dropped on 67. The pair added 89 runs for the ninth wicket, with Raza reaching his third ODI hundred off the penultimate delivery of the innings.
Sodhi finished with New Zealand´s best figures in just his second ODI, taking 3 for 38 in his 10 overs. Zimbabwe lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning Sunday´s opener by seven wickets.