LOGAN CUP MATCH: MASHONALAND EAGLES v SOUTHERN ROCKS
At Harare Sports Club, 02 November 2012: Final Day
Result: Southern Rocks beat Mashonaland Eagles by 141 runs.
MASVINGO CELEBRATES AS HISTORY IS MADE
Against all expectations, Southern Rocks achieved victory over Mashonaland Eagles today by 141 runs, although they had to resort to unorthodox methods to do so.
It was a historic day, as this is the Masvingo team’s first-ever Logan Cup victory after three seasons of failure. In a scheme presumably hatched by their coach Dave Houghton with his English experiences, there was joke bowling, a declaration, a forfeiture and a run chase, the last of which Mashonaland Eagles mishandled dismally.
The target of 301 to be achieved in almost a full day appeared at first to be too generous, considering the batting strength and supposed confidence of the host team, the perfect batting pitch and a rate of below three-and-a-half an over, despite the cold and cloudy weather. But Mashonaland Eagles were never in the hunt, as one batsman after another threw his wicket away against bowling that was disciplined but never dangerous.
Unfortunately the setting-up of a declaration game meant that there was the farcical situation of deliberately bad bowling to feed the batsmen easy runs. Southern Rocks used some non-bowlers to bowl 3.3 overs of intentional bad deliveries that enabled the batsmen, resuming on 85 for one overnight, to score 74 more runs before their declaration at 159 for one. Chamunorwa Chibhabha reached 102 off 71 balls, a greatly devalued century in these circumstances, and Sikandar Raza Butt 48. This was followed by the forfeiting of their second innings by Southern Rocks, so that Mashonaland Eagles were set a target of 301 in 77 overs plus the final hour.
Chibhabha was batting again in 10 minutes, but he seemed to find it difficult adjusting to proper bowling and scored five off 11 balls, with scarcely a stroke played in anger, before he chased a wide ball from Brian Vitori and was caught at the wicket. Raza Butt this time lasted only four balls, edged a boundary and was then trapped leg-before-wicket by Tinashe Panyangara, leaving Eagles 17 for two in the eighth over. Southern Rocks kept an attacking field from the start, and it paid off as Panyangara provided another fine ball that flew off the edge of Stuart Matsikenyeri’s bat to fourth slip, removing him without scoring. Mashonaland Eagles were amazingly 17 for three.
Regis Chakabva was still there, though looking far from confident, and he was now joined by Forster Mutizwa, historically the scourge of Southern Rocks with a remarkable batting record against that franchise. For a time the pair began to turn the situation around, but then Southern Rocks got the big one, as Mutizwa (21) drove low into the covers off Tawanda Mupariwa and Tendai Chisoro dived to take a good low catch. The score was 45 for four.
Southern Rocks took another wicket with the last ball before lunch: Peter Moor, who had played brightly for 30, attempted a half-hearted hook at a short ball from Trevor Garwe and edged it to the keeper. At the interval, Mashonaland Eagles appeared doomed – as long as the weather held – at 80 for five.
Two partnerships after lunch showed some fight, firstly between Chakabva and Tinotenda Mutombodzi for the sixth wicket and then between Nathan Waller and Innocent Chinyoka for the ninth. Chakabva had shown great determination in scoring 28 off 112 balls, but he fatally shouldered arms to a ball from Panyangara that just clipped the bails.
The last moments were enlivened by Tatenda Gumunyu-Manatsa hitting the first boundary of his first-class career and thereby taking his career average above one. Despite being the bowler to suffer this indignity, Panyangara finished with figures of four for 43, having led his side superbly from the front. The final total was 159 and even so several rather difficult chances went down. Waller showed much defiance and finished with 42 not out.
It could be said that Southern Rocks had most of the luck going their way in this match, but it was only fair after they had the worst of it in their one-day matches in Harare last month.
This time they won a good toss, had the best of the weather and played an Eagles team without three leading players – moreso bowlers – in Raymond Price, Kyle Jarvis and Elton Chigumbura. Finally the home batsmen threw away the match on a flat pitch. But that would have been of little use had Rocks not played with real spirit and application from beginning to end – a remarkable change from last season – and for this their new coach, Houghton, in particular, deserves great credit.