Zimbabwe skipper Hamilton Mazakadza remarked on Friday that 'it was super special' to lead his team to victory in his final international match. Afghanistan suffered a comprehensive defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe in the T20I tri-nation series also featuring Bangladesh. Despite this win, Zimbabwe is not in the contention for the final which will be played at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka on September 24. This was their first victory after losing three games on the trot.
With a daunting chase of 156 in front of them, the Zimbabwe captain walked to the crease alongside wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor. While both got off to a flying start, it was Mazakadza’s 71-run knock which proved to be very crucial in taking his team over the finishing line. He scored his 11th T20I fifty in just 27 balls. By the time he holed out to Nabi off the bowling of Dawlat Zadran, he had already hit 4 boundaries and 5 sixes. The balance target was comfortably overcome by Regis Chakabva and all-rounder Sean Williams.
Masakadza played 38 Test matches in which he scored 2223 runs with an average of 30.04. In 209 ODIs, he amassed 5658 runs while in the shortest format of the game he had 1662 runs under his name. He had announced his retirement from international cricket on September 3. The Zimbabwe skipper described the guard of honour as a 'special feeling' and expressed his satisfaction on having beaten Afghanistan for the first time in T20 internationals.
"I started tearing a little bit in the morning, trying to get through the team talk with the boys. I am not someone who wears his heart on his sleeve, but I think this is the one thing that brought a few emotions out of me. Even when I tried to tell the guys and the team before I made the official announcement, I barely got through three sentences, so it's been a really emotional time for me. I am looking at [retirement] not really too much as a door closing for me, but as a door opening for someone else to come. We have got a lot of exciting guys to come through, especially for that opening spot. There is experience still around the team, and I am really confident that someone would put their hands up and grab their chances," he opined.
(With ANI inputs)