Despite their butter-fingered display in the field, Tuskers will feel they have started the defence of the Logan Cup well, after the first day of their match against Mountaineers at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.
After winning the toss and surprisingly electing to bet on a seeming green top, Mountaineers lost opener Kevin Kasuza in the second over of the day, caught at slip off star bowler Glenn Querl.
This brought Mountaineers’ best duo to the wicket and Hamilton Masakadza and skipper Tinotenda Mawoyo made merry in the early morning Bulawayo sunshine. The pair seemed not too troubled on a wicket offering lift to the seamers.
On 33, Masakadza inexplicably danced down to the pitch to Tuskers’ new foreign signing, Mooene Ali’s first ball to him and was clean-bowled. Mark Pettini then joined his captain and the two scored steadily till the lunch interval without ever going away from Tuskers’ disciplined bowling.
Tuskers wrestled the initiative immediately after lunch when Mawoyo (43) badly mistimed a pull shot to give Querl his second wicket of the day. Pettini lost Gregory Lamb (13) and continued with his charmed life being put down twice by quickie Christopher Mpofu. His luck eventually ran out on 58 when he was trapped leg-before-wicket by Sean Williams.
As the rest of the Mountaineers wickets fell cheaply and with the very real prospect of being bowled out in the first day after electing to bat, the forgotten Timycen Maruma rod his luck when a simple top edge sweep was grassed by Mpofu at 45. Maruma went past 50 as Tuskers took the new ball. Maruma’s vigil (59) eventually came to an end five overs before stumps, brilliantly snapped up by Williams at third slip, off Querl.
Tendai Chatara then joined Natsai M’shangwe and the two swung the bat at everything as they took the score past 250. The pair entertained all by adding 32 for the last wicket before M’shangwe top edged Querl backward square to give the speed-star his fifth wicket of the day. Mountaineers were eventually out for 264.
Tuskers openers then survived the two overs left in the day’s play, without much drama.
The match continues at Queens tomorrow morning, starting at 10 o’clock.