Mountaineers coasted to an easy innings victory over the sadly depleted Southern Rocks team on the third day of their match at Harare Sports Club. The match was over shortly after tea, a good all-round performance by the home side.
Mountaineers continued their innings in the morning from their overnight score of 389 for five, with Timycen Maruma on 112 and Prosper Utseya on 63. They batted on for over an hour, perhaps with the batsmen’s individual landmarks in view. They pushed the score on briskly without looking to take the bowling to pieces, but both failed to reach their next landmarks, due to some good bowling from Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi. He bowled Utseya for 94, the batsman petulantly swatting his stumps down as he left the crease, and then a faster ball bowled out the Mountaineers captain. Maruma had made 149 off 223 balls, with 17 fours and three huge leg-side sixes.
At this point he declared, with a total of 467 for seven wickets and a lead on 321 on the first innings. Overall the best bowler was Prince Masvaure, with two for 44 off 16 overs, the best figures and the most economical, but he was not used on the third morning.
With more than five sessions to go and negligible chance of significant rain, Southern Rocks were in a seemingly hopeless position. In the second over they lost Sam Mwakayeni (2), shouldering arms and having his stumps shattered by a ball from Donald Tiripano. This was followed, though, by Southern Rocks’ best batting of the match – in fact, their ONLY good batting period of the match. Roy Kaia and Robertson Chinyengetere batted soundly until lunch, when the score was 54 for one.
After lunch Kaia began to open up and play some fine attacking shots, while his partner contented himself with blocking up the other end. In no time Kaia had reached his fifty, a landmark he achieved with a superb six over long-off. The pair took the score to 108, the first time this season Southern Rocks had reached 100 with only one wicket down in the Logan Cup. But then, after such fine batting by Kaia in particular, they fell in successive overs. First Chinyengetere played a weak stroke outside the off stump and was caught at the wicket off Shingi Masakadza for 30; then Kaia, with 69, drove a low catch straight to long-on off Utseya.
The middle order showed little fight, and soon the score was 129 for six. At this stage Stanley Marisa and Tendai Chisoro showed some fight, staying together to make the score 160 at tea. Shortly afterwards, though, Chisoro fell for 19, the next two batsmen came and went, and the closing stages were only enlivened by some defiant blows from the last man Taurai Muzarabani, who hit three sixes in scoring 19 not out off eight balls. Then Marisa’s defiant innings ended at 29, lbw to Natsai Mushangwe, and the team total had at least passed 200.
After their disastrous start to the season, Mountaineers are now on their way up and it is to be hoped they have regained the confidence to take on the stronger teams again. For Southern Rocks, virtually the only way is up, but to do that their top players need to start off by staying fit. Scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 146 (64.2 overs; Muzarabani 24*, Chatara 3/50) & 207 (63.1 overs; Kaia 69, Mushangwe 3/65), Mountaineers 467/7 decl (120.5 overs; Maruma 149, Mustard 105, Masvaure 2/44). Mountaineers win by an innings and 114 runs.
[Match report via ZC]
Zimbabwe's women were on the receiving end of another drubbing in Bangladesh this morning, this time at the hands of Sri Lanka. Put in to bat after Sri Lanka won the toss, Zimbabwe managed to post just 92 in a very slow 41-over knock, a target that Sri Lanka chased down in just just 11 overs. Full scorecard below the cut. The side are back in action again tomorrow, with a bottom-of-the-group clash against USA.
Zimbabwe 62 (41.4 overs; Nyathi 18, Seneviratna 5/15), Sri Lanka 64/3 (10.5 overs; Mendis 35*, Saili 3/19). Sri Lanka win by 7 wickets.
Took them a while, but Mountaineers have finally broken their duck in the Pro50, with a win over Southern Rocks - although it was a match they should probably have lost as, batting first, Rocks had them reduced to 18/5 before Kevin Kasuza (129*) played a match-winning innings, adding 126 for the 6th wicket with Gary Chirimuta (46). He didn't find much support from the tail after that, but his efforts helped lift the side to 229 before his side were bowled out, giving them at least a chance of defending. In reply, though, Rocks made it easy for them, imploding to 123 all out in 36 overs, with Natsai Mushangwe again bringing himself to the attention of national selectors by taking 5/22 as Mountaineers eased to a 106-run win. The fragility of their batting lineup will be a concern - decent performances by them are few and far between this season - but a win is a win and Mountaineers will be happy to finally get some points on the board. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 229 (38.2 overs; Kasuza 129*, Kaia 4/22), Rocks 123 (36.2 overs; Chisoro 31, Mushangwe 5/22). Mountaineers win by 106 runs.
Matabeleland Tuskers were given a trouncing by Midwest Rhinos in their Pro50 meeting on Saturday, despite a ton from Tuskers captain Gavin Ewing and a useful 507 from Craig Ervine. The rest of the home side's lineup failed to contribute much, leaving them on 227 at the close of the innings - well sub-par on the Queen's pitch. In-form Rhinos captain Gary Ballance took full advantage with an unbeaten ton of his own, with Malcolm Waller continuing his own impressive run of form with 65 not out, as Rhinos reached their target with nearly 10 overs to spare. The result pins Tuskers to the bottom of the Pro50 tournament table, and lifts Rhinos into second place, although they've still got some work to do to catch Eagles. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 227 (49.5 overs; Ewing 106, Rainsford 3/35, Rhinos 228/1 (40.5 overs; Ballance 108*, Dabengwa 1/42). Rhinos win by 9 wickets.
Zimbabwe's women were on the receiving end of a comprehensive defeat by the Dutch, in their first game of the Women's World Cup Qualifiers in Bangladesh. Batting first, Zimbabwe posted 145, but this proved to be nowhere near enough ar the Dutch powered their way to the target in less than 26 overs and for the loss of 4 wickets (2 of them run-outs). That leaves Zimbabwe bottom of Group A ahead of their next match, against Sri Lanka on the 17th (Thursday). Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 145 (50 overs; Nyathi 29, Lanser 2/17), Netherlands 148/4 (25.3 overs; Veringmeier 56, Mazvishaya 1/22). Netherlands win by 6 wickets.
Few would have expected this match to end as closely as it did, but right down to the final session on Day Five all three possible results were very much in play. Going back to day one, though, it seems that the Queen's pitch was on course to produce a tame display, as New Zealand, batting first after winning the toss, helped themselves to what the batting-friendly pitch offered to ease to 275/3 at the close, with Martin Guptill (109) providing the backbone of the innings. Day One to the Kiwis.
Day Two saw the first of several swings in fortune, though, as Chris Mpofu worked out how to get some life from the pitch and, taking 4/92 in the innings, did the bulk of the work in bowling the visitors out for 426, a total probably 100 short of what they would have been hoping for. Ray Price took 2/118, while Kyle Jarvis, Hamilton Masakadza and debutante Njabulo Ncube took one each. In reply, Zimbabwe reached 82/1 (Tino Mawoyo the man out), rounding off a day that Zim coach Alan Butcher called the side's best day of cricket since their Test return. Day Two to Zimbabwe.
Masakadza got Day Three off to a bad start for the hosts, falling without adding to the overnight score. Impressive contributions from Sibanda (93), Waller (72*) and Taylor (50)kept Zimbabwe in the chase, but a tendency to throw wickets away - and a tail that, like New Zealand's before them, didn't add much) saw Zimbabwe bowled out for 313, conceding a 113-run. Two quick wickets before the close of play, though, saw New Zealand end the day on 28/2 - not exactly the start they would have wanted. Day Three, honours even.
Day Four seemed to be reserved for when New Zealand would declare, with any lead over 300 generally expected to be good enough to deny Zimbabwe a chance of victory. Nightwatchman Patel departed early in the day, as expected, but Williamson (68) and Taylor (76) added 119 for the 4th wicket, putting New Zealand in the driving seat - briefly. A spate of quick wickets, as Kyle Jarvis took the first 5'fer since Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket, raised the prospect of the visitors being bowled out - but Ross Taylor called his side back on 252/8, setting Zimbabwe a target of 366 for victory. Some would suggest that with Chris "The Phantom" Martin being the man who did not bat, hanging around any longer wouldn't have made much difference anyway. With four sessions to reach a tempting total, Zimbabwe started off fairly cautiously, but lost Sibanda (13) early and Masakadza (19) to a silly shot on the final ball of the day. Still, despite the late losses, Zimbabwe edged the day.
The final day was straightforward on paper: New Zealand needed 8 wickets to win, Zimbabwe needed 305 runs more, and after losing only 1 wicket in the morning session (Mawoyo, for 52), whispers of "could they?" were beginning to become louder. In the afternoon session, Taylor and Taibu combined to frustrate the Kiwis further, adding another 94 runs for no loss and leaving Zimbabwe at tea requiring 101 runs for victory, with 7 wickets in hand. The departure of Taylor (117) in the first over after tea - some would say well-deserved, after a disputed appeal for a catch in shortly before tea saw Taylor saved by poor-quality replays - sparked the beginning of a Zimbabwean collapse, as the side was unable to form another partnership to see the innings through. From 265/4 at Taylor's departure, they collapsed to 331 all out, 34 short of their target. But to their credit, the side never gave up pushing for the win when many other sides would have battened down the hatches and settled for a draw, a move that seems to have earned them quite a few new fans. They may have lost, but it wasn't for lack of trying - and New Zealand certainly were given a scare they won't forget in a while. Full scorecard below the cut.
New Zealand 426 (143.3 overs; Guptill 109, Mpofu 4/92) & 252/8d (71 overs; Taylor 76, Jarvis 5/64), Zimbabwe 313 (121.5 overs; Sibanda 93, Vettori 5/70) & 331 (108.1 overs; Taylor 117, Bracewell 5/85). New Zealand win by 34 runs.
Mountaineers finally got a mark in the win column after their very poor start to the domestic season, with a 3-wicket win over Midwest Rhinos in Kwekwe. Early on, it had looked Rhinos' game - batting first after being put into bat, they posted 309, led by captain Gary Ballance (100) and Roland Benade (98) - although the small detail that the rest of the team failed to do much was perhaps a warning sign of what was to come. Shingi Masakadza (5/47) and Tendai Chatara (3/68) did the damage with the ball, with Masakadza adding impressive economy to the mix, conceding only 47 runs from the 25 overs he bowled. In reply, Mountaineers appeared to be in all sorts of trouble early on, collapsing initially to 6/77 before some fight was found, then falling further to 132/9 when wickets 7-9 fell for 21 runs. The 10th-wicket pairing of Kevin Kasuza and Tapiwa Mufudza managed to add another 92 runs, frustrating Rhinos and seeing Mountaineers to a half-decent 224 before Mufudza was finally removed. Kasuza, who had been 3rd man in, ended on an unbeaten 132 and can take a lot of credit for Mountaineers' eventual win.
If their first knock was dominated by two notable knock and not much else, Rhinos' second knock simply featured not much. The usually-reliable Ballance was out for a 15-ball duck, and while Riki Wessels (40) and Simon Mugava (30) tried to bring some respectability to their innings there again wasn't much support from elsewhere in the lineup as Rhinos were knocked over for just 143, leaving Mountaineers with a target of 229 to win, with Tendai Chatara again in the wickets with 5/56. For Mountaineers, it was once again a one-man show, with Ned Eckersley stepping up to the plate this time to lead the innings - after coming to the crease with Mountaineers on 2/33, he marshalled the side through most of the remainder of the chase, scoring 85 before departing with the score on 209, his only real support coming from Timycen Maruma (41). But he'd done his part, and Shingi Masakadza and Donald Tiripano completed the innings to see Mountaineers home. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rhinos 309 (103.1 overs; Ballance 100, Masakadza 5/47) & 143 (67.1 overs; Wessels 40, Chatara 5/56), Mountaineers 224 (69.5 overs; Kasuza 132*, Rainsford 3/31) & 230/7 (74.3 overs; Eckersley 85, Rainsford 2/34). Mountaineers win by 3 wickets.
Matabeleland Tuskers were all over Mashonaland Eagles in their Logan Cup 4th round match in Harare, which ended this morning. Batting first after winning the toss, Paul Horton led the side from the front, scoring a patient 104 as Tuskers posted 418. Craig Ervine (60) and Keith Dabengwa (59) also made good contributions along the way, while Innocent Chinyoka, Tatenda Manatsa and Nathan Waller each took three apiece for Eagles. A good knock by Tuskers, but no indication at that point of the carnage to follow.
And "carnage" is probably the best word for it as, when Eagles came to reply, the combined efforts of Glenn Querl (6/20) and Bradley Staddon (4/13) ripped through Eagles' lineup with no resistance: only Sikandar Raza (19) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (17) reached double figures, while Eagles' bottom six all departed without scoring, as their side slumped to a humiliating 52 all out, still 366 behind Tuskers' first-innings total. Tuskers naturally wasted no time in enforcing the follow-on, but while this time there was some fight in Eagles, in the form of an early partnership between Raza (28) and Ryan Bishop (22), and some mid-innings fight from Peter Moor (29) and Nathan Waller (23), for the rest of the side it was the same old story. Resuming on 59/2 at the beginning of day three, Eagles then lost 4 wickets without adding to that score before Moor and Waller managed some damage-control; but saving the game was far beyond their abilities and once the departed, 4 balls apart with the score on 112, the end wasn't far away. Eagles were bowled out second time around for 138, giving Tuskers a huge win - the second time they've beaten Eagles by an innings margin - and allowing their Bulawayo rivals to leap-frog them to top spot in the tournament table. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 418 (109.1 overs; Horton 104, Chinyoka 3/48), Eagles 52 (26.3 overs; Sikandar Raza 19, Querl 6/20) & 139 (50.5 overs; Moor 29, Dabengwa 3/7). Matabeleland Tuskers win by an innings and 228 runs.
Midwest Rhinos claimed a 5-wicket victory over Mountaineers, who continue to struggle this season, remaining winless in both the Pro50 and Logan Cup competitions. Batting first, Mountaineers posted 221/8 from their 50 overs, led by Jethro Maudzi's 77 on his List A debut, while Richard Muzhange took 4/45 for Rhinos. That target proved to be no real problem for Rhinos to overhaul, though - Stephen Marillier (40), Rememberance Nyathi (46) and Riki Wessels 48) each played a significant role in the chase, with Rhinos reaching their target with 11 overs to spare. Tendai Chatara led the bowling figures for Mountaineers, taking 3/70, but this was yet another game that Mountaineers will want to forget. Full scorecard below the cut.
Mountaineers 221/8 (50 overs; Maudzi 77, Muzhange 4/45), Rhinos 224/5 (39 overs; Wessels 48, Chatara 3/70). Midwest Rhinos win by 5 wickets
The Mashonaland Eagles juggernaut rolls on, completing a clean sweep over the other four franchises in the first half of the Pro50 programme when they beat Matabeleland Tuskers convincingly at Harare Sports Club. Fine batting by Cephas Zhuwao and Ryan Bishop was followed by a good all-round bowling and fielding performance, so that this match was as good as over halfway through the Matabeleland Tuskers’ innings. Only some fine batting by Steve Trenchard in particular down the order kept the margin of defeat for his team down to reasonable proportions.
The weather was hot and dry, the pitch shaven but with reasonable bounce, and the spectators were conspicuous by their absence. Harare is the only cricket centre where this competition is not well supported by the public, perhaps through lack of marketing. Matabeleland Tuskers won the toss and put Mashonaland Eagles in to bat.
With Sikandar Raza moving down the order, the early Mashonaland Eagles batting was a study in contrasts. Dean Mazhawidza took 27 balls to get off the mark and made four runs in his first hour at the crease. Zhuwao as usual was eager for the big hit, and when he reached 50 Mazhawidza had 6. Zhuwao celebrated with 20 off an over from the experienced off-spinner John Nyumbu, but was caught at deep midwicket for 71, scored off 77 balls with 11 fours and 2 sixes.
By this time Mazhawidza had moved on to 10, but now he began to play more positively, keeping the score ticking over in company with Bishop, before falling lbw to Glen Querl for 39, made off 91 balls. The score was now 154 for two in the 36th over. When Sikandar Raza joined Bishop the pair proceeded to take the bowling apart, hammering 87 in partnership in the space of nine overs. Raza made 47 from 30 balls, departing in the 45th over with the score now 244 for four.
The course of the innings now changed dramatically, as in the final six overs the last seven wickets fell for 34 runs, in a display of frenetic batting against controlled and persistent bowling. Querl, who had been mainly responsible for Mazhawidza’s turgid start, finished with four for 49, while the medium-paced Brad Staddon took a more expensive four for 72. The final total was 278, when 300 had looked a certainty when Bishop and Raza were together.
The Matabeleland Tuskers innings never took off. They had quite a strong team, considering that the national team squad and also Zimbabwe A players were unavailable, but the loss of Charles Coventry through injury was a serious loss. The first six in their order, at least, were players with experience and a good track record, but they never really put it together. Terry Duffin, like his counterpart Mazhawidza, really struggled when he opened the batting; unlike him, he was out for just a single off 15 balls.
Gavin Ewing was in sound form and kept the board moving well; his next partner, Paul Horton from Lancashire, gave him good support and the pair added 45 runs in 12 overs. This was a sound platform for the team to build on, but the building never came. Ewing made exactly 50 off 60 balls before he was out in the 20th over, and with him went Matabeleland Tuskers’ hopes, as the middle order never even fizzled. Craig Ervine might have led the charge, but he was out for 16, and when Adam Wheater departed lbw, the match was as good as over at 116 for six with the required run rate now over eight. The bowling was not spectacular, but it was sound and steady and did the job.
Trenchard does not have a good one-day record, but he fought back well, hitting the bad ball hard, and with Querl in particular he produced Matabeleland Tuskers’ best batting of the match – easier with the pressure off, as victory was now not an option. Querl made 34 off 27 balls, the pair adding 66 in less than seven overs, and in the same over Trenchard was run out for 60 off 43 balls. The innings closed for 240, better than had seemed likely earlier. Mark Mbofana, with three for 26, was the most successful bowler, but they all turned in steady performances. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 278 (50 overs; Zhuwao 71, Querl 4/49), Tuskers 240 (46.1 overs; Trenchard 60, Mbofana 3/26). Mashonaland Eagles win by 38 runs.
[Match report via ZC]