Tuskers 211 forv8 in 50 overs
Mountaineers 213 for 3 in 45.5 overs
Mountaineers won by 7 wickets.
A huge 171- run opening stand between captain Tinotenda Mawoyo and under-19 star Kevin Kasuza powered Mountaineers to a seven-wicket victory over Tuskers, on a very hot day in Bulawayo.
Winning the toss on a Queens’ wicket with a tinge of green, Mawoyo had no hesitation inserting the home side. Shingirai Masakadza and Tendai Chatara took the new balls and made life very difficult for the Tuskers batsmen. Opener Brian Chari offered the only early resistance, facing a whopping 49 balls for his 19, losing Terrence Duffin and Sean Williams cheaply in the process. Signs that the wicket was not easy to bat on came to the fore when national team batsman Craig Ervine took 20 balls to get off the mark. He went on to top score with a hard fought 62 off 114 balls. He found a willing partner in Charles Coventry (43) and the pair put on 94 which rescued Tuskers from a precarious position to a seemingly competitive score of 211 for eight in their 50 overs. There was a good contribution of 29 from Glen Querl at the back-end of the innings.
Former national team captain Prosper Utseya starred with the ball taking three wickets for 48 runs in 10 overs. He found good support in Zimbabwe’s version of a ‘mystery spinner’, Nestai Mushangwe who bamboozled the Tuskers batsmen to finish with figures of two for 39 in his 10.
Mountaineers got off to a slow but steady chase, causing the sparse crowd at Queens to fall asleep in the beginning. The partnership grew gradually assisted by the butter-fingered display from wicketkeeper Charles Coventry who had a nightmare behind the stumps, grassing three relatively easy catches and missing a stumping opportunity.
The partnership eventually came to an end when Kasuza, trying to end the match in a hurry, was caught at mid-wicket by John Nyumbu off the bowling of Christopher Mpofu. The wickets of Hamilton Masakadza (9) and captain Mawoyo (89) in the same over gave Tuskers a glimmer of hope.
But that little hope was quickly extinguished by Gregory Lamb whose unbeaten 15 saw his side home to a very comfortable victory with five overs to spare.
Despite being two-time defending Logan Cup champions, Tuskers continue to struggle in the shorter formats of the game and a change in the coaching department (Heath Streak taking over from David Houghton) and team colours (to navy blue ) seems not to have brought about the required change in fortune on the field of play.