After his maiden IPL fifty led Punjab Kings to a tight two-wicket win over Lucknow Super Giants, Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza said people made a huge thing about him not getting fifties in the tournament, while adding that winning the match for the team is more important.
Raza’s 41-ball 57 injected momentum in Punjab’s chase of 160 and with Shahrukh Khan hitting an unbeaten 10-ball 23, helped the side chase down the total with three balls to spare. It meant Punjab got their third win of the competition and are now at fourth place in the points table.
“People made a huge thing about the fifties. For me, these milestones don’t really exist, for me every run counts. I always ask myself what are the differences between 49 and 50 or 50 and 51. So what I look at is; did I win the game, did I contribute to the winning of the game or most importantly did I take the game forward,” said Raza in a video posted by IPL’s Twitter account.
Punjab were at 82/4 in 12 overs, including losing three wickets in power-play. From there, Raza took charge of the chase by smashing 17 runs off Krunal Pandya in the 13th over, with help from two sixes and a four.
“And, when I went out there, I realized that to me to take the game forward was to try and bat Mark Wood’s over because he was the threat at that time, especially when we had lost three wickets inside power-play and stats say 70-80% games are lost when this situation happens,” Raza said.
“I looked to steady the ship and that comes from my role with Zimbabwe as well as at other leagues too. But once you put a couple of boundaries away, you find your flow and get used to the surface as well. Once you get that, you get calmness as well,” he added.
Quizzed about hitting Wood over long-on for six on the very first ball he faced, Shahrukh put it down to constant practice and following his processes.
“I knew it was Mark Wood’s last ball and he wouldn’t pitch it short. I was just ready to drive him off the front foot. It was just instinct,” Shahrukh said.
“I have been practising and coming into good positions, and the process is leading me to hit sixes from the first ball. But it doesn’t happen regularly and as far as it comes, I will take it any day,” he added.
Punjab’s next game in IPL 2023 will be against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium on April 20.