After choking in their Logan Cup meeting, Moutaineers claimed a moral victory over Eagles in their Faithwear one-day match at Harare Sports Club on Saturday. Mountaineers won the toss and again elected to field, leaving Eagles to set the running for the match - and at first glance, they appeared to do a decent job. Opener Samuel Mwakayeni led the charge for the home side, putting on a decent 40, and while only one of his team-mates passed the 30 mark (Prince Masvaure, with 32 not out), with five others scoring in the twenties the final score of 241/9 at the end of the allotted 50 overs seemed to be good enough. Returning rebel Barney Rogers made his debut for the side, but managed only a single run from 14 balls faced. Natsai Mushangwe took a useful 3/26 for Mountaineers.
In reply, Moutaineers' decision to pack their side with decent batsmen paid dividends. While some of their batsmen failed to fire - most notably Tatenda Taibu, out for a first-ball duck - the trio of Tino Mawoyo (47), Stuart Matsikenyeri (74) and Timycen Maruma (53) provided the backbone of a strong performance that chased down the required total with 4 wickets and nearly 4 overs to spare. Ray Price and Trevor Garwe took a pair apiece in a losing cause, leaving Eagles - one of the pre-season favourites - languishing at the bottom of the table. Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 241/9 (50 overs; Mwakayeni 40, Mushangwe 3/26), Mountaineers 242/6 (46.1 overs; Maruma 74, Price 2/20).
Mountaineers win by 4 wickets.
Ray Price celebrates the dismissal of centurion Hamilton Masakadza:
More images below the cut...
Zimbabwe's revamped domestic season finally got underway on Monday, after a three-week delay, with Mash Eagles (formerly Northerns) taking on Mountaineers (formerly Easterns) at Harare Sports Club, with all eyes waiting to see how Eagles' "returning stars" would perform. It was a little disappointing, then, that the home side opted to stick mostly to players familiar from more recent times, with only Ryan Butterworth and Greg Lamb displacing more established players - and it was mostly the familiar faces that went on to make their mark in a game that was dominated by Mountaineers for three of the four innings.
Mountaineers won the toss and put Eagles in to bat, and made an early breakthrough when Samuel Mwakayeni fell with the score on 17. That marked the beginning of a steady stream of wickets for Mountaineers - while several Eagles batsmen got starts, it was only captain Elton Chigumbura (90) and Butterworth (63) that went on to post good scores, with only one other batsman breaking the 30 barrier. Shingirai Masakadza was on form with the ball, taking 3/70, with Prosper Utseya (free of captaincy duties in the domestic game) and Silent Mujaji chipping in with a pair apiece on the way to bowling the home side out for 317.
Where Eagles' batsmen weren't able to push on, though, Mountaineers - with their side packed with batting talent - were able to take full advantage. Tino Mawoyo and Bernard Mlambo provided early fodder for Eagles' bowling, but captain Hamilton Masakdaza's 188 was just one of several good knocks, as as Tatenda Taibu, Timycen Maruma and Stuart Matsikenyeri all posted half-tons. Mountaineers eventually declared on 493/7, with Elton Chigumbura's 2/95 leading Eagles' bowling figures.
Eagles' second innings managed to be worse than the first. Samuel Mwakayeni made amends for his first-innings failure by top-scoring this time out with 76 while Ray Price chipped in down the order with a useful 41, but those were the only innings of note on the way to the side being bowled out for 271 (Natsai Mushangwe taking 3/45). That left Mountaineers needing just 96 for victory, albeit with not much time left to chase it - but when faced with their first real challenge of the match, they choked, and very nearly handed victory to Eagles on a platter. In the 12 overs the side faced before close of play, they lost three wickets to run outs (as Forster Mutizwa, Eagles' keeper for the match, continues to make a name for himself), while Chigumbura and Price took two each to reduce Mountaineers to 45/7 at close. Oh, for a few more overs of play - but as it was, the match ended as a draw, with Mountaineers taking more points out of the match by virtue of their first-innings lead.
Full scorecard below the cut.
Eagles 317 (108.1 overs; Chigumbura 90, S Masakadza 3/70) & 271 (83.2 overs; Mwakayeni 76, Utseya 3/50)
Mountaineers 493/7 decl (150.5 overs; H Masakadza 188, Chigumbura 2/95) & 45/7 (12 overs; Maruma 17, Price 2/9). Match drawn.
Yesterday's coverage of the 2nd ODI included a short ZC promotional video where the logos and kit of the five franchise sides were unveiled. While the general idea of the Tuskers' logo had been spoken about already, the rest were news - so here they are:
Still no confirmed news on squads, though...
New Zimbabwe has the names of the five franchise sides and their captains:
Matabeleland Tuskers - Tawanda Mupariwa
Mashonaland Eagles - Elton Chigumbura
Southern Rocks - Chamunorwa Chibhabha
Mountaineers - Hamilton Masakadza
Midwest Rhinos - Edward Rainsford
No word yet on the playing squads for the sides, which is what I'm really curious to see...
New Zimbabwe - ZC unveils 5 franchise teams
The Zimbabwe Independent has details of the franchise sponsors, with which I'm about to have a little juvenile fun. Bear with me. :)
Mashonaland Eagles, the biggest franchise headquartered in Harare, are set to be bankrolled by agro-processing company Colcom Holdings Limited. If they don't win the title this year, it'll likely to be down to a clear case of "we ate all the pies".
Matabeleland Tuskers have almost agreed terms with Metropolitan Bank - appropriately enough, as their pre-season preparations would seem to make them a side you can bank on to do well this year.
Masvingo will land insurance company Nicoz Diamond, in the hopes that their support will help them improve on their less-than-sparkling performances in recent years. Bear in mind that the side, in their Southerns incarnation, didn't feature in last season's Logan Cup tournament.
Steelmakers, Zimbabwe's second-largest steel producers, will sponsor the Midlands, who will be disappointed that the steel connection doesn't exempt them from the laws against bowling beam-ers (okay, I'm stretching these now...).
Manicaland will be spondored by Sakunda Energy Petroleum, making them one side guaranteed to have no worries about petrol shortages. One hopes.
I'll stop now. :) Full franchise details and squads are due to be announced in Bulawayo on Wednesday evening, and for the first time in years, I'm feeling a certain sense of anticipation and excitement to see who's named in them...
Zimbabwe Independent - Cricket Franchises Secure Sponsors