September 21 (India Today) – Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza couldn’t have asked for a better farewell from international cricket as he single-handedly led his team to a convincing win over Afghanistan in the T20 tri-nation series at Chattogram on Friday.
Zimbabwe rode on their skipper’s 71 off 42 balls to chase down the target of 156 with 3 balls to spare and register their first win over Afghanistan in the shortest format.
Masakadza, who had announced that he would retire from international cricket after this series, smashed four boundaries and five sixes during his knock.
“It was super special. To lead the team to the win was really special, and that too in my last game. Also beating Afghanistan for the first time was special,” Masakadza said after the game, which was Zimbabwe’s last in the tri-series in Bangladesh.
Masakadza, who played 38 Tests, 209 ODIs and 66 T20Is for Zimbabwe since making his debut in 2001, got a couple of guard of honours during the match from his teammates and the opposition when he came out to bat. He was also presented with mementos after the game.
“It was a special feeling going through that guard of honour that the guys put up for me. I just got a lot of emotions going but, obviously, in the end, I am happy that I have pretty much done what the team needed from me, to get them into a good position to challenge Afghanistan for the win. I am very satisfied today.
“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,” Masakadza said.
The 36-year-old amassed 2223 runs in the longest format at an average of over 30 while in the 50-over game he made 5658 runs at 27.73. In both formats he hit five centuries each. He bows out as the leading run-scorer for his country in the shortest format with 1662 runs in T20Is.
“I have been going through a lot of emotions today, but regret is not among them. 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,” Masakadza said.