Superb bowling from Kyle Jarvis was the main factor in rolling the visitors twice in less than a day’s play, but, well as he bowled, he may never have it as easy again in his entire career. He achieved the very rare feat in modern cricket of taking a ten-wicket haul in a single day and finished with remarkable match figures of ten for 53.
Without the injured Tatenda Taibu to add spirit to their batting, Southern Rocks looked a totally demoralized team. They may not be a strong team, but they usually hold their own in one-day cricket; in the four-day game they bat in particular as if they were on death row. This defeatist attitude has brought them disgrace yet again, so much so that right now they are a liability to the Logan Cup competition. Unless the players themselves get their heads right they are doomed to more dismal performances in what remains of the season.
The day began with Southern Rocks beginning their response to the Mashonaland Eagles total of 335, but their batsmen immediately showed they were quite unprepared mentally to build on the advantage given the team by their bowlers the previous evening. Conditions were rather testing early on, with Tatenda Gumunyu-Manatsa and Kyle Jarvis able to get a bit of movement and lift, but that did not excuse the dismal collapse that followed. Southern Rocks, like Mashonaland, have had endless trouble with their opening partnership, and Roy Kaia, the most successful in that position so far this season, has been moved down to number six. Southern Rocks might do well to follow the example of Mashonaland Eagles and promote a determined tail-ender after today’s display.
Prince Masvaure and Chamu Chibhabha both fell to the second balls they received, from Jarvis, edging into the slips, with the experienced Chibhabha playing a particularly flighty stroke. Sam Mwakayeni continued his sad run of low scores with 5, and Alister Maregwede suffered a vicious lifter first ball, which he could only fend off to third slip. After half an hour’s play Southern Rocks were facing disaster at 6 for four wickets.
Richie Mutumbami fought back briefly to make 12 before giving his wicket away with a nudge into the slips, and Tendai Chisoro, often a fighter, ran himself out foolishly for 7. The score slumped to 43 for seven. But Kaia was still there and he laid into Raymond Price’s bowling when the spinner came on, while Tinashe Panyangara also batted with spirit. At lunch the score had progressed to 69 for seven, but both fell quickly after the interval, with Price luring Kaia (26) out of his crease to be stumped for the highest score of the innings.
The last pair of Tanyaradzwa Munyaradzi and Brian Vitori showed some spirit in adding 23 for the last wicket, but Jarvis came back to finish off the innings for 98 when he bowled Vitori. His figures were five for 23, after being four for 10 at one stage, as the last pair gave him some stick. With Vitori coming in at number 11, Southern Rocks have no serious tail; their problem is that they don’t seem to have a serious top order either.
Naturally Southern Rocks had to follow on 237 runs behind, and the main question seemed only to be whether they could survive the day. First impressions were that this was unlikely, as they again showed little appetite for a fightback. Jarvis continued to wreak havoc. In his first over Mwakayeni lobbed a simple catch to mid-off; in his third he removed Masvaure and Mutumbami with successive deliveries. Kaia went in his fifth. Chibhabha, after a lethargic start, fought back for a while with 22, but then Jarvis burst through his defence and spectacularly bowled him to take his tenth wicket of the day, just after tea.
Chisoro played with determination for a while to make 20, but even those batsmen who did show some fight failed to stay for the long haul. When Jarvis was rested, several of the batsmen seemed to have a death wish in trying to sweep Price, who picked up two easy wickets from that shot, including Chisoro, and almost had more. Panyangara, however, considers he should bat higher in the order and made his point with some powerful and determined strokes. He had some lucky escapes from some mishits, but his innings of 39 off 43 off 30 balls (four fours, three sixes) was by some way the highest in both innings.
There were 24 overs still remaining in the day when Southern Rocks were bowled out for the second time. In this innings Jarvis took five for 30, while Price had three victims. Southern Rocks have some serious soul-searching to do over the New Year, and the team needs a new spirit if it is to avoid further disgrace in the rest of the season. The bowlers came out of this match with some credit, especially Vitori and Panyangara, but the fielding was lacking and the batting abysmal.