The Chronicle has details of some of Matabeleland Tuskers' squad for the upcoming franchise 'B' league. The side will be coached by Trevor Phiri, with Pollock Mubhobho as assistant coach. The competition was apparently devised after a ZC survey showed each franchise players had access to enough players to field three sides at any one time. The names known so far are: Dumisani Mankunzini, Candric Moyo, Godwin Mamhiyo, Brendon Marsh and Tafadzwa Ngulube (wk).
The Chronicle - ZC launch B league
Another match with only pride to play for, and for Tuskers it rounded out a series they would probably rather forget as they fell to yet another loss. They at least won the toss, opting to put Rocks in to bat. The Masvingo side posted a decent 231/7, lead by Steve Tikolo's rapid-fire 94 (scored off 84 deliveries). Some decent support came from Richmond Mutambami (43) and Alester Maregwede (38), but there was much in the way of useful contributions past that - although it would ultimately prove to be enough. Chris Mpofu led the way for Tuskers' bowling, taking 3/27.
Tuskers' innings was a string of starts that failed to go anywhere, other than Dion Ebrahim's 57, but for most of the innings Tuskers were doing enough to keep within reach of the total they were chasing. A string of wickets towards the end of the innings, though, saw them fall just short of their target - Chris Mpofu was lsat man out, with Tuskers just 8 runs short of their target. For Rocks, Blessing Mahwire, Thomas Odoyo and Chamu Chibhabha took 2 wickets apiece. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 231/7 (50 overs; Tikolo 91, Mpofu 3/27), Tuskers 223 (49.5 overs; Ebrahim 57, Mahwire 2/31). Rocks win by 8 runs.
In the run-up to this match, the Tuskers back-room team were bullishly telling people that they would find form after their Christmas break - and sure enough, that seems to have happened, as they pulled off an innings victory over the hapless Southern Rocks in Bulawayo. Tuskers won the toss on day one and put Rock into bat, a decision that paid early dividends - Rocks quickly fell to 23/3 as Tendai Machiri, Erick Chauluka and Robertson Chinyengetere departed without making much impact, with regular wickets falling thereafter. Opening batsman Alester Maregwede formed what backbone the innings had, putting on 42, with the only useful support coming from captain Steve Tikolo (33). Rocks went on to be bowled out for 149, with Keegan Meth (3/14) and Chris Mpofu (3/31) doing most of the damage.
If Rocks were hapless in their innings, Tuskers were imperious in theirs - of the six batsmen to have a knock in their innings, only one failed to pass 50 (opener Keith Dabengwa on 20) as the side raced to a huge 456/5 before declaring. Charles Coventry's unbeaten ton was the best of the bunch, but Greg Strydom (87), Dion Ebrahim (82), Gavin Ewing (71) and Sean Williams (71) all played their part. Steve Tikolo was again one of the few Rocks players to make any sort of impact, leading Rocks' bowling figures with 3/105. That wasn't going to be enough to save the side, though, as Rocks were left facing a 307-run mountain just to make Tuskers bat again.
They couldn't climb that mountain, either - although Rocks' second innings was at least better than the first. The story was much the same as the first, with two knocks of note (Tendai Machiri's 79 and Steve Tikolo's 61) saving blushes while the rest of the side failed to compete. With Erick Chauluka absent hurt they were also one man down for the innings, which drew to a close with the side still 87 short of getting Tuskers back to bat, thanks largely to John Nyumbu's 4/29. Not a good day for the Rocks, then, but the gloom is lifting in the Tuskers camp. Full scorecard below the cut.
Rocks 149 (56.5 overs; Maregwede 42, Meth 3/14) & 220 (75.2 overs; Machiri 79, Nyumbu 4/29), Tuskers 456/5 decl (93.4 overs; Coventry 100*, Tikolo 3/105). Tuskers win by an innings and 87 wickets.
ZC have issued a fixture list for the Franchise 'B' League, which will see sides play a series of 2-day matches during January, February and March. For the full schedule, check our Domestic Fixtures page.
Former Zim bowler Mluleki Nkala has joined the Midwest Rhinos on a short-term basis, according to the Sunday News. Nkala currently plays and coaches in the UK, but has agreed to join the Rhinos until he returns to the UK at the end of the month.
That said, the player does appear to have longer-term aims with another franchise side - Tuskers are reported to be reviewing the position of current coach Robin Brown after their poor run of form this season, with Nkala's name having been raised as a possible replacement - despite the side having apparently rebuffed his approaches to them about joining as a player:
"I wanted to join Matabeleland Tuskers but the impression I got was that they were not interested so I decided to join Midwest Rhinos."
According to the paper, Nkala would accept the coach post if it were offered to him.
Sunday News - Nkala joins Midwest Rhinos
Matabeleland Tsukers came within a whisker of keeping their semi-final hopes alive today, but Eagles eventually denied them with a 9-run win at Harare Sports Club. Tuskers won the toss and put Eagles in to bat, and the home side made the most of the opportunity given to them as they powered to 236/4 in their 5 overs - Greg Lamb (88*) and Forster Mutizwa (56) again provided the backbone for the innings, with Prince Masvaure also contributing an important 47 to the total. Tuskers' bowling failed to impress, with Tawanda Mupariwa's 1/15 being the best of the bunch.
In reply, Tuskers here always there or thereabouts as far as the required run-rate was concerned, but where Eagles managed to keep their wickets intact, Tuskers were losing theirs at regular intervals and by the closing stages of the innings found themselves in a position where an established batsman may have been able to sneak the win - but that wasn't to be, as the tail folded leaving Tuskers a painful 9 runs short and with 8 balls unfaced. Dion Ebrahim's 67 was the highlight of the innings, albeit a slow one off 110 balls, while Prince Masvaure again featured for Eagles, leading the bowling figures with 2/18. That assures Eagles of third spot in the table and a place in the semi-finals, which Tuskers are now assured of sitting out. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 236/4 (50 overs; Lamb 88*, Mupariwa 1/15), Tuskers 227 (48.4 overs; Ebrahim 67, Masvaure 2/18). Eagles win by 9 runs.
Mashonaland Eagles completed a ninth-wicket victory over Matabeleland Tuskers with ease at Harare Sports Club in their Logan Cup match, as the visitors put in a disappointing display and showed little real fight as they went under. Trevor Garwe had another good day, taking five wickets in the innings, and some dashing batting by the Eagles opening batsmen gave the match an entertaining finish. Apart from a fighting partnership between Sean Williams and Keith Dabengwa, Tuskers submerged with scarcely a bubble.
Tuskers were 70 for four wickets overnight, still 20 runs behind after Eagles had taken a 90-run lead on the first innings. They had not added to this total when they lost the second of the two night-watchmen they had used the previous evening, Chris Mpofu, well caught low in the slips by Forster Mutizwa off Elton Chigumbura for 1.
This brought in Dabengwa to join Williams, and the pair put on the one substantial partnership of the innings. At first it hardly looked likely to survive, as Williams was dropped in the slips off Chigumbura with only a single to his credit, and Dabengwa made a very shaky start and was lucky to survive for long. Within minutes he had almost popped a catch to mid-off, then lobbed a ball over midwicket and almost ran himself out looking for an unlikely second run for the mishit. Then he settled down to give Williams good support.
The Tuskers captain's best strokes were through the covers, where he drove handsomely. The pair had added 63 invaluable runs, almost doubling the total, when Raymond Price rather belatedly came on to bowl, and immediately broke through. Williams moved across his stumps and was adjudged lbw for 33.
This was virtually the end of the Tuskers' resistance. Mbeke Mabuza batted a while without scoring before being out lbw shouldering arms to a ball from Garwe, and we had the rather ridiculous situation of a fine strokeplayer like Greg Strydom, who has a double-century to his credit, coming in at number nine, thanks to the decision of the team to use two night-watchmen.
Had Dabengwa stayed, another good stand might well have been possible, but the left-hander was going through another shaky period, and this time he did not survive it. He mistimed a drive off Garwe, skying the ball for mid-on to take the catch running back. He had made 35, the top score for his team.
Strydom hit two belligerent fours in an over from Garwe, but Keegan Meth popped a bouncer from Chigumbura tamely to short leg, bringing the last man, John Nyumbu. Eagles then fell back on the questionable tactic of giving up trying to dismiss Strydom, but simply keeping him away from the bowling so as to attack Nyumbu. On this occasion it worked, as Strydom is probably - and certainly looked - unused to batting in a situation like this. He finally tried to scoop a ball from Kyle Jarvis to leg, but only succeeded in popping up a simple catch to the keeper. He made 12, and the innings total was a disappointing 153. Garwe finished with five wickets for 43, well earned for good bowling, if slightly flattered by the feeble batting. There were two wickets each for Chigumbura and Jarvis.
This left Eagles a mere 64 runs for victory after lunch. The openers Sam Mwakayeni and Tafadzwa Mufambisi went like a train from the start, as if determined to emphasize their team's superiority and get the match over in time for siesta. Tuskers opened the bowling with Nyumbu, an enterprising move which failed to pay, as he lasted just two overs for 19 runs. The pacemen were also hammered with gay abandon, and the 50 came up in half an hour before Mufambisi miscued a drive off Meth to the cover sweeper and departed for 18.
This did slow the breathtaking momentum a little, but it still took less than ten overs to reach the target, the winning hit being a lofted straight drive for four by Mutizwa. Mwakayeni finished with 34 not out from just 22 balls, and must have wished he had shown similar enterprise in his first innings, where his painful 28 lasted 124 balls. Thus Eagles finished the match in complete dominance, and only a major turn of events can prevent them from winning the Logan Cup this season.
The two teams meet again on Tuesday 15 December at the same venue for their Faithwear Cup match, played over 50 overs per side. Eagles have been less dominant in this competition, but Tuskers will have to make a major turnaround if they are to secure a measure of revenge. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 217 (76.4 overs; Strydom 71, Lamb 4/38) & 153 (54.4 overs; Dabengwa 35, Garwe 5/43), Eagles 307 (99.1 overs; Lamb 72, Dabengwa 3/42) & 66/1 (Mwakayeni 34*, Meth 1/9). Eagles win by 9 wickets.
The Zimbabwean reports that Tuskers have suspended Mark Vermeulen for indiscipline, after the player reacted badly to being given out during the side's Logan Cup match against Rhinos two weeks ago:
Very reliable sources have revealed that Tuskers officials, including franchise coach Robin Brown, were fed up with Vermeulen's erratic behaviour. During the four-day match against Midwest Rhinos at Queens Sports Club two weeks ago, Vermeulen reacted angrily after being caught out for a first ball duck to leg spinner Graeme Cremer.
The decision will raise worries about Vermeulen's mental state again - it's not the first time the player has been in trouble, culminating in the arson attacks on ZC buildings at Zimbabwe Cricket Academy and Harare Sports Club, and any indications that problems are persisting are bad news indeed.
The Zimbabwean - Tuskers drop Vermeulen
Top-of-the-table Mountaineers eased past bottom-of-the-table Tuskers in the second Faithwear match of the round in Mutare earlier. Batting first after winning the toss, Tuskers' batting once again let them down as they were bowled out for 197. Captain Greg Strydom's 53 spared some blushes for the visitors, while Sean Williams provided a useful 34 on his return from injury, but there wasn't much else in the lineup to write home about. Natsai Mushangwe took 4/40 from his 10 overs for Mountaineers to help pile the pain on Tuskers.
In reply, Mountaineers never really seemed to be in any trouble. Opener Tino Mawoyo led the way with an unbeaten 66, while Hamilton Masakadza added 58 and Timycen Maruma 47 as the side eased home in the 43rd over. Sean Williams (1/58) took the only wicket for Tuskers. The result leaves Tuskers' participation in the semi-finals looking very unlikely - the side need to win both their remaining matches, and hope that 4th-place Rocks lose both of theirs, if they're to gain a semi-final place. Personally, I wouldn't bet on it. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 197 (48.4 overs; Strydom 53, Mushangwe 4/40), Mountaineers 201/2 (42.1 overs; Mawoyo 66*, Williams 1/58). Mountaineers win by 8 wickets.
Very little to write about with this one, as the match ended up a tame draw with both sides claiming 6 points from the encounter. Mountaineers got the better of what play there was, racking up 348/6 in their available time after bowling Tuskers out for a paltry 195, but with little to fight for results-wise it was little more than batting practice. Gavin Ewings' 58 was the only knock of note for Tuskers, who were undone in the main by Timycen Maruma, who took 4/30 from 15 overs bowled. In reply, there wasn't a bad knock from those Mountaineers batsmen who got to the crease, with Tino Mawoyo's 40 being the lowest completed innings (Donald Tiripano (7*) and Prosper Utseya (3*) didn't get much chance to build scores before the match ended), and there were plenty of positives from the others, with Hamilton Masakadza top-scoring on 79, while Timycen Maruma again got in on the act with a Twenty20-esque 59 off just 36 balls.
But the match was destined to be a draw, and that was that. Full scorecard below the cut.
Tuskers 195 (61 overs; Ewing 58, Maruma 4/30), Mountaineers 348/6 (88.1 overs; H Masakadza 79, Meth 2/43). Match drawn.