LOGAN CUP MATCH: MASHONALAND EAGLES v MID-WEST RHINOS
Day 1: 13 November 2012, at Harare Sports Club
Close of play: Mid-West Rhinos (265/9) v Mashonaland Eagles
It was a quiet day at Harare Sports Club for the match between Mashonaland Eagles – smarting from two successive Logan Cup defeats – and Mid-West Rhinos, with one victory in one match to their credit.
Probably Mashonaland Eagles finished the day the happier side, as the Mid-West Rhinos’ first innings never really fired and only owed a respectable score of 265 runs for nine wickets to a good partnership of 79 for the seventh wicket between their two lower-order players Simon Mugava and Neville Madziva. But they will still have to beat it.
Mashonaland Eagles were back to their usual trick, winning the toss at home and putting the opposition in to bat. The pitch, though, did not help the bowlers unduly, although there was a little movement at first. Run-getting was not particularly easy, though, as the ball did not come on to the bat as they would have liked. Mashonaland Eagles had Kyle Jarvis back in their team, but still lacked Raymond Price and Elton Chigumbura. They also included for the first time Prosper Utseya, who has moved from Mountaineers, and Taurai Muzarabani, from Southern Rocks.
Runs were slow in coming, and after the early loss of Jaik Mickleburgh, Vusimuzi Sibanda scored a rather subdued 20 off 45 balls. Mark Vermeulen survived a difficult chance in the slips off the second ball he faced, while Brendan Taylor never tried to dominate the bowling. Half the runs before lunch came from Vermeulen, who played well in the circumstances, but rarely felt free to play his usual powerful drives.
After lunch Jarvis removed Taylor, leg-before-wicket on the back foot for 18 off 47 balls. Jarvis was economical, but not at his best. When Malcolm Waller came in to join Vermeulen, the scoring rate increased, with Waller hitting three fours in an over from Muzarabani. Vermeulen scored 68 off 114 balls before he was out to a rather soft dismissal, edging a ball to slip off a loose drive and giving Mashonaland Eagles’ debutant, Tafadzwa Muzarawetu, his first wicket. When Tinotenda Mutombodzi trapped Waller lbw for 42 at tea, Mid-West Rhinos were a disappointing 165 for six wickets.
Mid-West Rhinos are infamous for their fragile tail, but after tea they fought back strongly in the form of Mugava and Madziva. Both were uncertain at first, but they survived and then thrived. Mugava was the more aggressive of the two, being severe on Utseya at times, but Mutombodzi bowled tightly and well. Mugava reached a maiden fifty off 83 balls, in the second over with the second new ball. The pair added an invaluable 79 for the seventh wicket before Madziva was adjudged lbw to Jarvis for a determined 30. The score was now 244 for seven.
This seemed to affect Mugava, who was out lbw to Nathan Waller shortly afterwards for an admirable 52. The tail now lived up to its reputation, three batsmen departing in quick succession, but Edward Rainsford and Mike Chinouya held out until the close. Unless Rainsford decides to hit hard and often tomorrow morning – his speciality too rarely seen these days – Mid-West Rhinos cannot expect many more runs.
Then we will see if Mashonaland Eagles can do better.