This week’s matches (Tuesday 27 to Friday 30 November):
At Kwekwe Sports Club: Mid-West Rhinos v Matabeleland Tuskers
At Masvingo Sports Club: Southern Rocks v Mid-West Rhinos
Bye: Mashonaland Eagles
The Logan Cup continues to prosper and provide good cricket, with results, for the spectators who come to watch it.
Neither is the cricket predictable. Last week the two results were by wide margins, but not in the expected way.
In Bulawayo, some superb fast bowling by Kyle Jarvis had Matabeleland Tuskers in disarray in the first innings, and who would have believed that Mashonaland Eagles, with a first-innings lead of over 100, would go on to lose the match by over 300 runs? But superb batting by Terry Duffin, the Worcestershire all-rounder Moeen Ali, Sean Ervine and Charles Coventry slaughtered the Eagles bowlers second time round, and when set over 400 to win the Eagles slithered to defeat in humiliating fashion, once again showing a total inability to fight hard with the bat when the going is tough. Keegan Meth took 10 wickets in the match.
In Mutare the match was virtually decided in the first session. Mid-West Rhinos, on the back of two victories, expected the pitch to be a typical Mutare featherbed – as did the home team. However, it proved at the start to be soft, slow and rather (but not excessively) helpful to the seamers, and the Rhinos batsmen seemed totally unable to adjust their thinking and techniques. Despite a century by Brendan Taylor in the second innings and 10 wickets out of the 12 to fall by Edward Rainsford, Rhinos went down to their first defeat. The Mountaineers bowlers did a good job and Hamilton Masakadza and Mark Pettini scored most of the runs.
The current Logan Cup points situation is as follows (number of matches in brackets):
Matabeleland Tuskers 20 (3), Mid-West Rhinos 14 (3), Mountaineers 14 (3), Southern Rocks 7 (3), Mashonaland Eagles 1 (4).
The final round of matches for this year will begin on Tuesday, and after these are completed each team will have played four matches. From now on, rain will probably play an increasing role and cause more drawn matches. In the current situation, unless rain intervenes, Mountaineers will probably beat Southern Rocks at Masvingo Sports Club and Matabeleland Tuskers will probably beat Mid-West Rhinos at Kwekwe Sports Club.
Matabeleland Tuskers are on a roll, and Mid-West Rhinos lost more than a match in Mutare. They took the risk of playing Mike Chinouya when he was only half-fit and paid the penalty, while Neville Madziva also broke down. Rainsford bowled superbly, but Richard Muzhange is not in good form, and Rhinos’ bowling reserves are weak. Unless there are some wonderful recoveries, they will have great difficulty in bowling out Tuskers and, unless they are overconfident, Tuskers have a great chance of recording a full house of straight victories against each of the other four teams.
Mountaineers are confident after losing their first match to Tuskers, and should be more than a match for the struggling Southern Rocks team, although they may be made to fight hard for victory.
But one major ingredient of the Logan Cup this season has been its unpredictability, and there may well be more surprises in store this week.