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Hamilton Masakadza Signs Off in style

18 years ago, little Hamilton became the youngest cricketer to score a century on a debut. After two decades, he finally announced his retirement.

SarthakGera
Last updated: 23.09.2019
Hamilton Masakadza Signs Off in style | Sports Social Blog

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What could be more satisfying than finishing off the long and hard journey on a perfect note. 

 

18 years ago, little Hamilton became the youngest cricketer to score a century on a debut. Zimbabwe were trailing by 216 runs and it needed something special from there onwards for Zimbabwe. They were 28-1 when Masakadza entered, and afterwards sealed the day with his inspiration, confidence and with a zen-like concentration he scored  119 runs off 316 balls.

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2 decades since Masakadza's fine achievement everything has been changed but one thing that hasn't been changed is his confidence and zen-like concentration. At the age of 36, he was leading his side and ended his international career in the same manner as to how he began with an impressive 71 of 42 balls as he powered Zimbabwe to a seven-wicket victory over Afghanistan in the Chattogram.

 

Way back in February 2000, the Churchill schoolboy became the first black Zimbabwean, and youngest player to score a first-class century. Back then he choose to put his international career on hold to study at university of free state but none of Zimbabwean could forget his heroic performance against West Indies so he was recalled to the national team in 2004 and has maintained a regular presence since.

 

In total, he played 140 first-class games and scored 9,564 runs with an average of 39.85  and was the leading run-scorer for the Mountaineers in 2017-18 Pro50 Championship with 317 runs in 6 matches.

 

Zimbabwe's national test team in 2006 was suspended as they were struggling in the longest format of the game. while the African nation has decided to continue playing international one-day cricket. So Masakadza worked on his skills in one-day internationals. He scored his first ODI century on 14 August 2009 against Bangladesh, later he became the first Zimbabwean to make 150 twice in ODIs when he scored 156 and 178* against Kenya. He also holds the record for scoring most runs in 5 match ODI series.

 

2011 was considered the most important year for Zimbabwe as it made its return to the longest format of the game. Masakadza was the vital part of Zimbabwe's team. He along with Brendan Taylor and Elton Chigumbura form the core of the team. And was appointed Teams vice-captain for Tests and ODIs.

 

Zimbabwe was all set to play Bangladesh in Harare, Masakadza made a strong comeback by hitting 104 runs in the first innings. 

 

Later he was selected for Zimbabwe's world cup squad of 2015, having previously made 2 appearance's in the U-19 version (2000 and 2002).

 

On 20th July, 2014 Zimbabwe was playing against Afghanistan in Bulawayo and needed 257 runs to win against the team which is known for its strong bowling line up. Afghanistan would have never dreamt that Masakadza and Raza would set the record for the highest ever partnership for Zimbabwe(224). Raza scored a brilliant century(141) and Masakadza fell 7 runs short(93).

 

Afterwards, in 2015, Masakadza became Zimbabwe's 6th highest test run-scorer and 5th ODI run-scorer. In the following year, he became the first Zimbabwean to reach 1000 runs and became country's leading run-scorer in T20'S. Moving forward, in 2016 he set a world record for most runs scored in a T20 bilateral series, with a total of 222 across four games. And following India tour of Zimbabwe, he became the first Zimbabwean cricketer to play 50 T20 international matches.

 

A wonderful career like this wanted a perfect ending.

Draped in the Zimbabwe flag, Masakadza got plenty of hugs from his teammates in the dugout.

 

It was a memorable farewell performance from the stalwart of Zimbabwe cricket, smashing 71 off 42 balls to end Afghanistan's 12-match winning streak in T20Is. Their bowlers had done a splendid job to pull things back early on, when Afghanistan looked set for a big total at 107/1. And then the captain took over with the bat, signing off in style after an 18-year international career to ensure Zimbabwe don't return from Bangladesh without a win.

 

"Fantastic feeling to finish off like that. Always knew the boys had a performance in them. 

Masakadza said after the match

"Good to get a send-off like this, fantastic to be with the boys today".


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