‘It’s acceptable for youngsters to make mistakes, but older ones…’: Sikandar Raza stern after India loss in third T20I

Shubman Gill and Ruturaj Gaikwad delivered stellar performances with the bat, setting the stage for India’s 23-run win over Zimbabwe in the third T20I on Wednesday. Gill’s 66 off 49 balls, complemented by Yashasvi Jaiswal’s brisk 36 off 27 and Gaikwad’s quickfire 49 off 28, propelled India to a formidable 182 for four after choosing to bat on a new pitch.

Zimbabwe's Sikandar Raza takes a shot during the T20I against India (AFP)
Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza takes a shot during the T20I against India (AFP)

Zimbabwe struggled to keep pace with the chase, despite a valiant effort from number four batsman Dion Myers, who remained unbeaten on 65 off 49 balls. Ultimately, Zimbabwe fell short, finishing on 159 for six in the allotted 20 overs. Washington Sundar emerged as a key figure in India’s bowling attack, claiming three crucial wickets, while Avesh Khan supported with two dismissals.

Following the defeat, Zimbabwe captain Sikandar Raza was candid in his assessment. He highlighted the team’s shortcomings, particularly in the field, and stressed the need for senior players to step up. Raza was adamant that there were no excuses for their performances and insisted they must improve to remain competitive in the series.

“I think the problem is the fielding game, we are proud of our fielding game but today everything fell apart, we conceded 20 extra runs and lost by 23 runs. We still have problems at the top but I have utmost faith that they will improve at some point,” Raza said at the post-match presentation.

“We have tried 15 different partners (openers) in the last year and a half or so. There is a lot of cricket in the country and club cricket has revived.

“It is time for our players, including myself, to take responsibility. It is acceptable for youngsters to make mistakes, but senior players must step up. You cannot solve a problem by creating another problem; we have chosen three starters for a reason. The starters who have been chosen must be given the opportunity to play,” Raza said.

Counterattack from Zimbabwe

India’s bowlers, led by Avesh Khan, put Zimbabwe under pressure from the start, with Khan dismissing opener Wessly Madhevere in the second over. The hosts found themselves in serious trouble at 39 for five, but a resilient 77-run partnership in 57 balls between Myers and Clive Madande (37 off 26) injected some life into the match.

As the series heads into its fourth T20I on Saturday, India have regained momentum with back-to-back wins following a series-opening loss.