Punjab Kings’ (PBKS) star all-rounder Sikandar Raza slammed his maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) fifty to help his side register a thrilling two-wicket win against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow on Saturday, April 15.
Chasing 160, the Kings lost three early wickets as they were reduced to 45/3. With 115 runs needed off 84 balls, Raza walked out to bat.
The 36-year-old stitched crucial partnerships with Harpreet Singh Bhatia and stand-in captain Sam Curran to keep the visitors in the hunt.
Raza continued to play his scintillating shots as he notched up his first IPL fifty off just 34 balls. Interestingly, the accomplished all-rounder became the first Zimbabwean cricketer to score a fifty in IPL history.
He was later dismissed by LSG leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi for 57 off 41 balls when the Kings were just 21 runs away from the target.
Swashbuckling batter Shahrukh Khan later played a brilliant cameo of a 10-ball 23 to guide PBKS to their third win of IPL 2023.
Raza’s match-winning knock was lauded by his coach, teammate, commentators and former cricketers, who took to Twitter to appreciate the PBKS all-rounder.
Happy for Sikandar Raza. Playing in the IPL was a dream of his that finally came through. Today, a maiden IPL half century and a wicket in winning the game for @PunjabKingsIPL— Ian Raphael Bishop (@irbishi) April 15, 2023
A hardworking, tough cricketer from Zimbabwe @SRazaB24, getting the player of the match & showing what fine players from outside the top 4/5 teams are capable of, is one of my feel good moments of #TATAIPL2023. Look forward to more, Sikandar Raza. Keep opening the door for others— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) April 16, 2023
Well played @SRazaB24 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾— Mpumelelo Mbangwa (@mmbangwa) April 15, 2023
What a fantastic chase from @PunjabKingsIPL! Shahrukh Khan oozed confidence in the final over and Sikandar Raza played a crucial knock. Another thrilling finish in #TATAIPL. 👌#LSGvPBKS pic.twitter.com/YOzyvtJOMK— Mithali Raj (@M_Raj03) April 15, 2023
Having registered three wins and two losses, the Punjab Kings have moved to the fourth spot in the IPL 2023 standings with six points from five matches.
The Kings will aim to continue their winning run when they host Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in their upcoming IPL 2023 clash at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali on Thursday, April 20.